Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry has issued a warning that protests will not be tolerated after a demonstration occurred in Riyadh on 4 March, and the date of another protest in the country approaches.

A statement issued by the Interior Ministry on 5 March said “the security forces are lawfully authorised to take all necessary actions against whoever tries to violate the law in any way, and he will be subject to the full force of the relevant regulations”.

It added that demonstrations, marches and sit-ins were against the law and “contradict the principles of Islamic law (Sharia) and the values and norms of the Saudi society”.

The statement was made following the first sign of protests occurring in the Riyadh, after several small protests occurred in Jeddah and the Eastern Province earlier in the year. Reports about the 4 March protest vary, with numbers ranging between a small crowd of around a dozen to 2,000 people.

A ‘Day of Rage’ inspired by the protests in Egypt and Tunisia, is planned for 11 March in Saudi Arabia. A Facebook group behind the call for protests had more than 27,000 supporters on 6 March.