The Saudi royal family is famous for their lavish spending. King Salman, the ruler of the country, reportedly owns a private yacht the size of a football pitch, indulges in tropical holidays worth $30m dollars, and 100 bodyguards at a time.
But today, it seems that the people of their kingdom might have had enough – and some are taking to Twitter to vent their frustration. Using the hashtag #StopAllocationsToSaud, Saudi tweeters are demanding that money be reallocated from the royal family to public funds, and to support the poor and needy of the Kingdom.
Cut their allocations so this woman does not have to search for her food in the trash.
ان تصرف مليارات الدولارات لمجموعة من الأشخاص ليس لإنجازاتهم وإنما لأنهم من عائلة محددة فهذا ليس من الشريعة والعدل!#ايقاف_مخصصات_ال_سعود— معاوية السايبري (@iMuawiya_IT) 29 August 2016
Allocating people’s money for individuals only because they are from a certain family is totally not just.
A large royal family – known as the House of Saud and headed by King Salman – rules Saudi Arabia, and 2,000 members of the family control the majority of its wealth and power. That’s a lot of cash. After all, the family considers the entire oil-rich Kingdom, with assets of an estimated $1.4 trillion as its own asset: allocations of land, resources and contracts, lucrative government positions, and huge monthly allowances have historically consumed up to 40% of the state’s budget, according to the House’s own website.
اذا كان لا فرق بين مواطن وامير فاعطونا مثلهم او اوقفو مخصصاتهم مال الشعب للشعب وليس للاسره #ايقاف_مخصصات_آل_سعود— نحو الوعي . (@shgbbbb) 31 August 2016
We are all the same, either you give us like you give them or stop their allocations, people’s money belong to people.
That means the family don’t struggle for cash, and news of their conspicuous lifestyle is headline worthy material. And personal fortunes of billions of dollars are controversial – especially when up to 20% of the population are estimated to live below the poverty line.
A Saudi princess gave her dentist 3 Rolexes because she does not know which one he likes.
That doesn’t mean the hashtag was universally supported, however. Many users were against the idea that the country’s wealth should be shared more equitably – revealing a widespread belief that the resources of the country were indeed the resources of the ruling family.
#ايقاف_مخصصات_ال_سعود ما الهدف من طرح قضية المخصصات التي بالملايين في هذا التوقيت بالذات وجنودنا على الحدود وبلدنا مستهدف من الداخل والخارج؟— محمد اللي يعمِّم (@algarniM) 29 August 2016
Why this hashtag now while our soldiers are fighting the Houthis on the borders?
هل توافق على إيقاف مخصصات ال سعود واستعادة الاموال التي نهبوها ؟ #ايقاف_مخصصات_ال_سعود— سعد الدوسري #ثورة (@saadaldosari21) 29 August 2016
Do you agree that we should cut all the royal family allocations and refund them
39% Yes we should
61% No it is their money
Might a Twitter trend have an impact on the wealth of the royal family? It might not be likely. But some members of the House of Saud do have an interest in the social network. Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has used his immense fortune to buy a 5% stake in Twitter – meaning calls for him to take a pay cut might be putting money in his pocket.
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