At least one woman has died and another 50 have been injured after security forces and religious police broke up a rare protest at a university in Saudi Arabia, according to reports.

A female student with epilepsy died after receiving a blow to the head, while the others were either injured in the crush or by police, state owned Iranian Press TV reported.

The women were among hundreds protesting against mismanagement and repression at the King Khalid University in Abha on Wednesday.

The BBC reports that there have been a number of protests at Saudi universities involving current and former students in the past 12 months.

Their anger has focused on complaints of unequal treatment in the strict Islamic state.

Recently, Saudi authorities have made tentative moves towards improving women's rights by allowing them to vote in municipal elections.

Last year King Abdullah also overturned a court verduct that has sentenced a woman to ten lashes for deying the kingdom's driving ban.