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Reports: Saudi Police Fire At Protesters

As protests have spread and governments have been toppled in North Africa and the Middle East, one key question has been whether the rulers in Saudi Arabia would come under such pressure.

The Associated Press reports that:

"Saudi police opened fire Thursday to disperse a protest in the mainly Shiite east, leaving at least one man injured, as the government struggled to prevent a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom.

"The rare violence raised concern about a crackdown ahead of more planned protests after Friday prayers in different cities throughout the oil-rich kingdom. The pro-Western monarchy is concerned protests could open footholds for Shiite powerhouse Iran and has accused foreigners of stoking the protests, which are officially forbidden."

According to Reuters, "a witness and Shiite activist said 'there was firing, it was sporadic.' ... The witness said he could not see where the firing was directed at. Witnesses and activists said there were people wounded and put the number between one and four."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.