Riyadh: Saudi police on Thursday deployed in force in a poor neighbourhood of Riyadh after rioting by illegal workers the previous night left one person dead.
In the commercial capital Jeddah, security forces dispersed a large protest by illegal workers and arrested five Ethiopians suspected of organising the demonstration, a police spokesman said.
Protests are banned in the kingdom, where tensions have been spiralling since the authorities began rounding up thousands of illegals following the expiry on November 4 a final amnesty for them to formalise their status.
Clashes on Wednesday between Saudis and illegal workers in the southern Riyadh neighbourhood of Manfuhah left one Sudanese national dead and 17 people injured, police reported.
Riyadh had already announced the deaths of a Saudi and two foreigners in Manfuhah on Saturday, while the Ethiopian embassy said three of its nationals had died in clashes.
For the fifth day in a row, long lines of illegal workers queued in Manfuhah for buses to take them to repatriation centres.
With fewer people to do the job, the state-backed Saudi Gazette reported that 20,000 schools are without janitors. Others are without school bus drivers. Garbage is piling up on streets and grocery stores have shut their doors and almost half of Saudi Arabia’s small construction firms have stopped working on projects.
Saudis say dozens of businesses like bakeries, supermarkets, gas stations and cafes are now closed. They say prices have also soared for services from mechanics, plumbers and electricians
Now, authorities say booting out foreign workers will open more jobs for citizens, at a time when unemployment among Saudis is running at 12.1 percent as of the end of last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.