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00:00:00
>> Its young crown prince has been hailed as a reformer in Saudi Arabia. But a recent crackdown on women's rights campaigners has left many questioning how serious the kingdom is about change, and revived fresh doubts about Mohammed bin Salman's seemingly erratic approach to reforms. Just weeks before the much hyped lifting of a ban on women driving, nearly a dozen prominent activists who campaigned for the move have been arrested.
00:00:28
Western officials say they're shocked as state backed media labelling the activists as quote, agents of the embassies. Reuters correspondent in Riyadh, Sarah Dadush says activists have gone quiet.>> Many activists have gone dark saying they won't be responding to messages anymore because of concerns about their safety. And some have said that some activists also deactivated their Twitters or made them more private so as to prevent any kind of retaliation taken against them.
00:00:55
>> While Bin Salman has been praised at home and abroad for his modernization efforts, he's also provoked unease. An anti-corruption purge last year saw scores of royals and top businessmen detained here in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh. Activists say the recent arrests signal that political openness will not be allowed to follow social liberalization.
00:01:18
>> It's not yet clear what this means for foreigners in the kingdom. A lot of the activists and analysts have said that, this is a clear message that no reforms will be accepted unless they come from the top. And that no civil action or activism will be allowed unless it is sanctioned by the government or support something that the government openly supports.
00:01:39
>> The Crown Prince's defenders say he may have been trying to appease religious conservatives opposed to social change.