A picture taken on November 5, 2017 in Riyadh shows a general view of the closed Ritz Karlton hotel in Riyadh.
A day earlier Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes, including a prominent billioniare, and dozens of current and former ministers, reports said, in a sweeping crackdown as the kingdom's young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman consoliates power. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE        (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on November 5, 2017 in Riyadh shows a general view of the closed Ritz Karlton hotel in Riyadh. A day earlier Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes, including a prominent billioniare, and dozens of current and former ministers, reports said, in a sweeping crackdown as the kingdom's young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman consoliates power. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:10
Saudi Arabia arrests 11 princes after protest
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017.
The Crown Prince pledged a "moderate, open" Saudi Arabia, breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favour of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth.  "We are returning to what we were before -- a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world," he said at the economic forum in Riyadh.
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017. The Crown Prince pledged a "moderate, open" Saudi Arabia, breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favour of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth. "We are returning to what we were before -- a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world," he said at the economic forum in Riyadh.
Now playing
02:53
The man in charge of Saudi Arabia
A general manager of Alarab TV, Jamal Khashoggi, looks on during a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama, on December 15, 2014. The  pan-Arab satellite news broadcaster owned by billionaire Saudi businessman Alwaleed bin Talal will go on air February 1, promising to "break the mould" in a crowded field.AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH        (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images)
MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images
A general manager of Alarab TV, Jamal Khashoggi, looks on during a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama, on December 15, 2014. The pan-Arab satellite news broadcaster owned by billionaire Saudi businessman Alwaleed bin Talal will go on air February 1, promising to "break the mould" in a crowded field.AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:42
Turkish official: Khashoggi's body was cut into pieces
CNN
Now playing
03:02
Pompeo speaks following Saudi Arabia trip
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2011, file photo, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Washington Post said Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, it was concerned for the safety of Khashoggi, a columnist for the newspaper, after he apparently went missing after going to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
Virginia Mayo/AP
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2011, file photo, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Washington Post said Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, it was concerned for the safety of Khashoggi, a columnist for the newspaper, after he apparently went missing after going to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
Now playing
03:36
Questions linger after journalist disappears
31st August 1945:  Five sons of King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia board a plane at Herne Airport in Hampshire. They are the Amir Faisal (later King Faisal), Amir Mohammed, Amir Fahd (later King Fahd), Amir Abdullah Al Faisal and Amir Nawaf. On the left is the Saudi Ambassador in London.  (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
William Vanderson/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
31st August 1945: Five sons of King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia board a plane at Herne Airport in Hampshire. They are the Amir Faisal (later King Faisal), Amir Mohammed, Amir Fahd (later King Fahd), Amir Abdullah Al Faisal and Amir Nawaf. On the left is the Saudi Ambassador in London. (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:13
Saudi Arabia's royal family: What to know
CNN
Now playing
02:45
Saudi women drivers get behind the wheel
Luke Rotzler/CNN
Now playing
01:43
'I'm a prisoner and my crime is that I'm a Saudi woman'
Getty Images
Now playing
02:15
Why are Iran and Saudi Arabia so at odds?
Myrkott/Masmeer
Now playing
02:39
Cartoonist draws lines in Saudi culture
HANGZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the G20 opening ceremony at the Hangzhou International Expo Center on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China. World leaders are gathering for the 11th G20 Summit from September 4-5. (Photo by Nicolas Asfouri - Pool/Getty Images)
Nicolas Asfouri/Pool/Getty Images
HANGZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 04: Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the G20 opening ceremony at the Hangzhou International Expo Center on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China. World leaders are gathering for the 11th G20 Summit from September 4-5. (Photo by Nicolas Asfouri - Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:28
Saudi Arabia: What's going on?
saudi arabia power grab robertson pkg_00022512.jpg
saudi arabia power grab robertson pkg_00022512.jpg
Now playing
02:27
Crown Prince leads anti-corruption sweep
Saudi princes and top offiicials arrested for corruption Anderson looklive_00004407.jpg
Saudi princes and top offiicials arrested for corruption Anderson looklive_00004407.jpg
Now playing
02:12
Saudi Arabia princes arrested in corruption case
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017.
The Crown Prince pledged a "moderate, open" Saudi Arabia, breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favour of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth.  "We are returning to what we were before -- a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world," he said at the economic forum in Riyadh.
 / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE        (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017. The Crown Prince pledged a "moderate, open" Saudi Arabia, breaking with ultra-conservative clerics in favour of an image catering to foreign investors and Saudi youth. "We are returning to what we were before -- a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world," he said at the economic forum in Riyadh. / AFP PHOTO / FAYEZ NURELDINE (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:30
The young prince in charge of Saudi Arabia (2017)
Now playing
02:19
Spokeswoman defends progress in Saudi Arabia
(CNN) —  

Eleven Saudi princes were arrested Thursday after staging a sit-in at a palace in Riyadh, the kingdom’s attorney general said Saturday.

The princes were protesting a recent royal order that “halted payments by the state to members of the royal family to cover their electricity and water utility bills,” Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said in a statement.

They also want compensation for the 2016 state execution of a cousin who was convicted of murder, the statement said.

Authorities had told the princes their demands were unlawful, but they refused to leave and public peace and order was disrupted, the attorney general said.

The princes were being detained at Al-Hayer prison south of Riyadh, the capital, pending trial.

“No one is above the law in Saudi Arabia. Everyone is equal and is treated the same as others,” the statement said.

Two months ago, authorities arrested dozens of royals, businessmen and senior government officials as a part of a corruption crackdown. Those detained included the former head of the royal court, Khaled Al-Tuwaijri, and Saudi media mogul Waleed Al-Ibrahim.

The investigation is being overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was appointed head of a new anti-corruption committee hours before the arrests began November 4.

The royal decree said the committee was needed “due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds” and will “trace and combat corruption at all levels,” according to the release.

More than 200 people were questioned at one point, officials said then. One of the people who was questioned and released was son of the late King Abdullah, Prince Miteb. An undisclosed financial settlement was agreed upon. The government said at the time it expected to release more people as other settlements were reached.

At least two watchdog groups – Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists – say princes aren’t the only ones being rounded up, however. The groups say the kingdom has also detained journalists, clerics and activists in the crackdown.

“Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s efforts to reform the Saudi economy and society are bound to fail if his justice system scorns the rule of law by ordering arbitrary arrests and punishments,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

Saudi officials estimate that corruption and embezzlement has cost the kingdom at least $100 billion over decades.

The crown prince has already introduced sweeping changes, including subsidy cuts, new taxes and the lifting of a controversial ban on women driving.

Also this week, King Salman announced new cost-of-living allowances for military personnel, government employees and students, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

Government employees will receive a monthly cost-of-living allowance of 1,000 riyals ($266) for one year. Military personnel serving in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen will receive a payout of 5,000 riyals ($1,333).

The decree also increases the stipend for students by 10% for one year and increases retirement allowances, the SPA reported.

CNN’s Spencer Feingold contributed to this report.