The rare speech by the country’s ailing 86-year-old monarch came after a several small demonstrations in the oil-rich kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s monarch is promising money to residents of the kingdom in his first national address since unrest began sweeping the Arab world.

King Abdullah spoke after midday Muslim prayers on Friday. He thanked residents and security forces for being “the hands” of the country’s stability. News readers then read series of royal decrees promising a minimum wage increase, cash gifts and an anti—corruption drive.

The rare speech by the country’s ailing 86—year—old monarch came after a several small demonstrations in the oil—rich kingdom.

Though only dozens of people participated, it appears the monarchy is worried the protests could escalate into more intense gatherings, inspired by the protests around the Arab world.

More In: International | News