Saudi authorities detained eleven princes after they protested at royal palace in Riyad against austerity measures including having to pay their own utility bills.
Saudi has introduced reforms including cutting subsidies, introducing value added tax (VAT) and cutting perks to royal family members in a bid to deal with a huge budget deficit caused by falling oil prices.
As part of the same bid to sort out the oil rich desert kingdom’s finances, an anti-corruption drive at the end of last year saw 200 princes, ministers and business leaders rounded up and imprisoned, albeit in a luxury hotel
News website sabq.org said the princes had gathered at the Qasr a-Hokm, a historic royal palace, demanding the cancellation of a royal decree that stopped state payment of water and electricity bills for royal family members.
They were also demanding compensation for a death sentence issued against a cousin, Sabq.org said, without naming him.
‘They were informed of the error of their demands, but they refused to leave Qasr al-Hokm,’ the website said, quoting unidentified sources.
The source added: ‘Everybody is equal before the law and anyone who does not implement regulations and instructions will be held accountable, no matter who he is.’