At least one person is reported to have been killed in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, on 13 January in clashes between Shia protesters and security forces.

The protests were calling for “the release of political detainees, reform, and an end to sectarian discrimination”, one activist told the AFP news agency.

Protests in the Eastern Province have erupted sporadically since last March, when the area’s Shia majority rose up after an uprising in neighbouring Bahrain was put down with help from Saudi security forces.

Saudi Arabia is predominately Sunni, but the Eastern Province has large Shia-dominated areas. Shia citizens complain of discrimination against them by the ruling Al-Saud family.

In November, four Shia protesters were killed in Qatif, who the Interior Ministry said were armed agents under “foreign orders”. This description is typically used as code for Iranian agitation.