Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Picture via REUTERS
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Picture via REUTERS

Dubai — A Saudi prince was arrested after a video that appeared to show him assaulting a bloodied man stoked outrage online, police in that country said, in a rare airing of public anger at a member of the royal family.

The clip, apparently filmed by the attacker, shows a Yemeni driver berated for parking in front of the man’s house and being forcibly grabbed by the collar and cursed at as blood drips down his mouth.

Saudi police reported that King Salman ordered the arrest of Prince Saud bin Musa’id for assault to demonstrate he would punish "any transgression or violation by a person no matter his station, condition or rank".

The announcement, made on Thursday on the state TV channel Ekhbariya’s Twitter page, used the hashtag "A prince commits assault on citizens", which Saudis used to vent their ire.

Since 2012, social media storms in Saudi Arabia over state policies or the actions of senior officials have culminated in their sacking on at least five occasions. But online campaigns seldom target the House of Saud, a family with thousands of members that founded the state almost 300 years ago.

A Saudi prince was executed in 2016 after being convicted of shooting dead a fellow Saudi.

A few royals have also fallen foul of the law abroad. A prince was charged with sexual assault in Los Angeles in 2015 and another prince was found guilty of murdering his servant at a luxury London hotel in 2010.

The furore over the prince was the second example in less than a week of online activism sparking an arrest.

A Snapchat clip of an unidentified woman wearing a short skirt and crop top provoked outrage among Twitter users in the conservative Muslim kingdom, leading to her arrest for "indecent" dress. She was later released.


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