Following Saudi Arabia’s official announcement on expelling the Canadian ambassador along with freezing trade and investment ties with Canada, Saudis launched an Arabic hashtag “السعوديه_تطرد_السفير_الكندي” that literally translates to: “Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador”.
The hashtag that was mainly tweeted by Saudis to defend their government’s decision and condemn Canada’s interference in the Saudi internal affairs, was among the top trending hashtags in Arab countries and the worldwide trends on Monday morning before it disappeared from the list, or as some have suggested, was removed deliberately by Twitter.
Diplomatic tensions among both countries were triggered by a statement made by Canada’s Department of Global Affairs, in which it condemned the Saudi authorities arrest of civil and women rights activists. Canada also urged Saudi Arabia to release all “peaceful” detainees.
Also, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland tweeted she was “very alarmed” by the activists detention.
In response, Saudi Arabia condemned Canada’s “blatant interference in the Kingdom’s domestic affairs” saying it requires a “sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty”.
In Saudi Arabia, the decision was welcomed by Saudis who rejected any foreign interference in their internal affairs, completely overlooking the main reason behind the tensions which is the detained activists were detained during a time of supposed reforms in the ultra conservative kingdom.
Abdallah bin Sultan Al Saud had also tweeted using the hashtag to confirm that Saudi Arabia never tolerates any interference into internal affairs by foreign countries.
The tweet that came from a member of Al Saud family, the ruling family in Saudi Arabia who are currently waging a war against Yemen, provoked anger.
The Saudi statement buzzed the Canadian media as well as western media and social platforms.
This was all sparked earlier last week, when Saudi Arabia detained two activists; Samar Badawi, the sister of the jailed blogger Raif Badawi, and Nassima al-Sadah, as part of the latest government crackdown that have seen a number of high-profile civil and women rights activists detained since May 2018.
According to the Saudi Foreign Ministry, those arrested, were "lawfully detained by the Public Prosecution for committing crimes punishable by applicable law, which also guaranteed the detainees' rights and provided them with due process during the investigation and trial."
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