WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said Monday that the right to protest must be respected everywhere, including in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia's interior ministry said on Saturday that protests were illegal, amid various calls for demonstrations demanding change in the ultra-conservative kingdom, state media said. But State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said "the United States supports a set of universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. "Those rights must be respected everywhere, including Saudi Arabia," he added. The Saudi position on protests "is actually not new," he said. "We have communicated our position to the Saudi government as part of our regular ongoing dialogue and have been for some time," he said.