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Nimr Baqr al-Nimr is an independent Shia Sheikh in al-Awamiyah, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. He is popular among youth and critical of the Saudi Arabian government. He claimed that he was beaten by Mabahith when arrested in 2006. In 2009, he criticised Saudi authorities and suggested secession of the Eastern Province if Saudi Shias' rights were not better respected. A warrant for his arrest was issued and 35 people were arrested. During the 2011–2012 Saudi Arabian protests, al-Nimr called for protestors to resist police bullets using "the roar of the word" rather than violence, predicted the overthrow of the government if repression continued, and was seen by The Guardian as having "taken the lead in [the] uprising". On 8 July 2012 al-Nimr was shot by police in the leg and arrested, in what police described as an exchange of gunfire. Thousands of people protested in response in several protests in which two men, Akbar al-Shakhouri and Mohamed al-Felfel, were killed by police bullets. Al-Nimr started a hunger strike and appeared to have been tortured. The Asharq Center for Human Rights expressed concern for al-Nimr's health during his hunger strike on 21 August, calling for international support to allow access by family, lawyer and human rights activists. (via Freebase)