In a stern warning, Riyadh police hold 3 Filipino protesters briefly

Updated 12 May 2013
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In a stern warning, Riyadh police hold 3 Filipino protesters briefly

Three Filipino workers were detained by Riyadh police yesterday for protesting outside the Philippine Embassy. Later they were released.
The three workers were among a group of about 150 workers who gathered in front of the Philippine Embassy yesterday morning to protest against the alleged inability of the Filipino diplomatic missions to help illegal workers go home.
"The police responsible for ensuring security at the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh picked up a few of the workers and later released them," Philippine Ambassador Ezzedin Tago told Arab News here yesterday. Tago said: "There is no justification to organize any protest or demonstration in front of the embassy, when we are doing our best to help solve all problems."
"I don’t know why the community organizations decided to hold protests," said Tago, adding that all Filipino community organizations, including Migrante, are illegal in Saudi Arabia. He said workers from other countries did not protest outside their embassies at the Diplomatic Quarter. He said over 7,500 Filipino workers have so far registered for repatriation at the embassy and the Jeddah-based consulate.
A statement released by Filipino migrants rights group Migrante, however, gave a different version of the story. Migrante, which identified those arrested as Lyndon Salonga, Juan Carlos and Jon Jon de Vera, said the protest was "peaceful." It said "they were holding their peaceful protest outside the Philippine embassy, when a Riyadh POLO case officer arrived with the Saudi police."
Migrante said that the protest in Riyadh was an offshoot of the situation in Jeddah, where some 1,000 Filipinos have been camping out since April 11. Workers have been gathering in Jeddah since the Saudi government ordered a crackdown on undocumented foreign workers, which started on March 28 this year. Thousands of workers have already been deported.
Migrante, which is at the forefront of assisting thousands of stranded Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia, said it would ask the Philippine government to prioritize the repatriation of women, children, the sick and elderly.


Saudi Arabia to release 1,000 Ethiopian prisoners

Ethiopian immigrants returning from Saudi Arabia arrive at Addis Ababa's Bole International Airport in this December 10, 2013 photo. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Ethiopians were sent home in 2013 but they have apparently been replaced by new arrivals in the succeeding years. (AFP file photo)
Updated 20 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia to release 1,000 Ethiopian prisoners

  • Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Ethiopian migrants were repatriated from Saudi Arabia in 2013.
  • Officials in Riyadh are in the process of deporting more than 500,000 Ethiopian migrants this year.

ADDIS ABABA: Saudi Arabia has agreed to release 1,000 Ethiopian nationals who have been in prison in the Gulf state for a variety of offenses, Ethiopian state-affiliated media said on Saturday.

The decision was made following a request by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was in Riyadh on an official visit this week, Fana Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The agency said among the detainees were 100 women. It did not disclose what the charges were. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian nationals live in the Gulf region, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

Officials in Riyadh are in the process of deporting more than 500,000 undocumented Ethiopian migrants.

So far, 160,000 have arrived back in the Horn of Africa country.

During his recent visit to Riyadh, Ahmed met with leaders of Ethiopian community and discussed setting up a strong partnership between the government and the community to address challenges they are facing.

The trip is his first outside Africa after three visits to neighbouring countries. The East African nation secured thousands of exit visas for its nationals and flew them back home.

Established diplomatic relations in 1948, Saudi Arabia is among the first Arab countries to open embassy in Addis Ababa.