KUWAIT - A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to death for shooting at security forces in the kingdom's Eastern Province with a machine gun, a local newspaper said on Monday.

Minority Shi'ite Muslims have staged sporadic protests in the province for years. The latest wave of demonstrations coincided with the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 and 2012.

The man, whom activists said was a Shi'ite, was also found guilty of buying weapons and harboring rioters, the Saudi newspaper Okaz reported, without giving his name.

The paper said he shot at security forces in the towns of Tarout and Darin, both east of the Qatif governate, which has been at the heart of recent protests.

At least 21 people have been shot dead in the Eastern Province since early 2011. Most Saudi Shi'ites live in the region and some say they suffer discrimination in the Sunni-ruled kingdom, a charge authorities deny.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger