WASHINGTON: Dozens of people protested outside the Qatari Embassy in Washington on Wednesday following accusations of Doha’s support to terror.
The protesters in Washington, like others in Paris, London and elsewhere, demanded that Qatar stop policies they say have compounded the suffering of people under siege by militant groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.
Protesters listed terror groups and individuals that have been sanctioned by the international community but continue to find sanctuary in Qatar, including individuals complicit in terror attacks or who have provided ideological support to terror groups, such as Yusuf Qaradawi.
Embassy staff tried to placate protesters with water and dates.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have severed ties with Qatar and instituted various economic measures and travel restrictions.
They delivered a list of demands that Qatar must comply with to end the crisis and its isolation.
Non-governmental organizations and individuals in a number of countries worldwide have held protests in front of Qatari embassies.
“As today’s protest in Washington showed, it is not only the government of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt that have run out of patience. Time is running out for Qatar,” said a protester.
Saudi Arabia reiterated Tuesday that its demands on Qatar were not negotiable. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, who was also in Washington, said via Twitter: “Our demands on Qatar are non-negotiable. It’s now up to Qatar to end its support for extremism and terrorism.”
Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Riyadh-based Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar, told Arab News on Wednesday: “There is nothing to negotiate. Qatar should immediately act upon the demands that have been submitted to it. These are not new demands. They have been there since 2013 and 2014. The meeting of these demands is essential for the security of the Gulf region.”
He doubted Qatari intentions. “By insisting on holding discussions, they are trying to run away from the core issue. This means they do not want to deal with the real problem, which is action against terror groups.”
Meanwhile, a top Qatari human rights group said it will employ Swiss lawyers to seek compensation for those impacted by the decision of Gulf countries to cut ties with Doha.
Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, chairman of Qatar’s National Human Rights Commission, said his group would take action against the four countries, which severed ties with Qatar this month.
“We’ll be coordinating to start legal action with those affected by these sanctions,” Al-Marri told a news conference.
“The three countries are responsible for compensating those affected,” he said, adding many Qataris qualified for compensation.
“Some cases will be filed in courts in those three countries and in some courts that have international jurisdictions, like in Europe, related to compensation.”