Police have broken up a small protest outside the interior ministry in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, leading to the arrest of at least a dozen people.

According to reports, riot police prevented the crowd from rushing into the building.

Reuters reported that at least 50 police cars surrounded the ministry, with riot police vastly outnumbering the number of protesters.

They arrested a lot of people, pro-democracy activist Mohammed Al-Qahtani told CNN. They started putting them in police cars and even buses to take them away.

The demonstrators were demanding the release of people detained by the government without trial for long periods on security charges.

In the face of small rumblings of dissent, The Saudi King Abdullah has offered higher wages and benefits for state workers, the hiring of more police and security workers, billions in public spending, but has stopped short of providing any genuine political reforms.

In a speech to the nation on Friday, the King reiterated that protests pose a threat to security and stability and that he will not tolerate any such demonstrations.

Protests are officially banned in Saudi Arabia.

I feel disappointed [by the king’s statements], to say the least, one activis told CNN. I do believe after these decrees, instead of sweeping reforms, they'll start sweeping up the activists.