Kuwait warns against unlicensed protest planned for Sunday

KUWAIT Sat Nov 3, 2012 4:43pm EDT

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KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait said on Saturday it had not issued a permit to allow a planned protest against new voting rules and the prime minister warned police would use force if the nation was under threat.

Kuwait outlawed unauthorized gatherings of more than 20 people last month after an opposition-led demonstration by thousands ended in clashes between protesters and police in which at least 30 people were taken to hospital.

Although OPEC member and U.S. ally Kuwait has avoided the kind of mass pro-democracy unrest seen in other Arab countries, tensions have mounted between the elected parliament and the government, dominated by the Al-Sabah ruling family.

Demonstrations about local issues often occur in the major oil producer, but violence has previously been very rare.

Security forces used tear gas and smoke bombs at protests last month, witnesses said. Protesters, which include opposition politicians, youth groups and their followers plan a protest march on Sunday in central Kuwait.

Kuwaitis have been protesting changes to an electoral law, announced last month by ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Some opposition politicians have said the changes are an attempt to give pro-government candidates an advantage in the parliamentary election on December 1. The government says the amendments were needed to preserve national unity.

"The state does not ... want to use violence, but when the security of the homeland is endangered and the safety of its citizens at risk, it will not hesitate to use force in the framework of the law and the constitution," state news agency KUNA quoted Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber al-Mubarak al-Sabah as saying.

Opposition politicians have said they will boycott parliamentary elections next month, the second time Kuwait goes to the polls in 2012.

An opposition bloc, made up of Islamists, liberal and tribal lawmakers, won a majority at the last elections in February.

But that parliament was effectively dissolved by a court ruling in June which reinstated a more government-friendly assembly. However the old parliament was unable to meet due to a boycott by MPs, leading to another dissolution and a call by the emir for snap elections as a way out of the political deadlock.

The Information Ministry said it had not issued any demonstration permits or received any applications for them for Sunday's march and added that the security forces had an important role to enforce the law and to protect citizens.

On Thursday, the Interior Ministry said it would "deal firmly" with any gathering that violated the law.

Rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday that Kuwait must ensure its citizens are able to express their opinions, including about the electoral law, in a free and peaceful manner.

"The security forces must abide by international policing standards and refrain from using unlawful force in response to peaceful demonstrations," it said.

Kuwait has one of the most open political systems in the Gulf and is home to an elected parliament with legislative powers. However, the 83-year-old emir has the final say in state affairs and picks the prime minister, who in turn selects a cabinet. Major portfolios are held by Al-Sabah family members.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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Comments (3)
“Kuwait has one of the most open political systems in the Gulf”

Reuters Kuwait is an absolute dictatorship, and a US ally.

They PRETEND to have a government and parliment, and you should really point out that the only reason they might have “one of the most open poitical systems in the gulf..” is because there are only a handful of countries in the gulf and the rest of them don’t even pretend not to be absolute US back dictatorships…

It might also be worth a mention that the Emir of Kuwait, the Prime minister, the oil minister, the information minister and the defense minister (among others) and all from the same ‘Al Sabah’ ruling family.

The ruling monarchy in Kuwait is believed to be worth over 100 billion US dollars making them one of the richest families in the world. Or in history for that matter…

Most of their enormous fortune is invested in the United States.

Sorry reuters wasn’t up to the job guys, they’re too busy protecting a US dictator ally as usual.

Nov 03, 2012 8:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
SyriasTruth wrote:
If you could reach back in time….

I find myself in thought of impossible things.
One I will share …is if We could reach back in time to the start of this conflict…What would we know to do different?
In my heart I know the real answer…and it’s get risk and cost would not be dimished.
We should, when we get back …take every action against Assad…beyond the threats…beyond the UN mandates we begged for.
Interveine, directly enter in force, an entire force of nations to stop Assad’s massacre of his own people asking for their God given rights….stop his using the extreme arsenal of his military all across Syria.
Act swiftly…loudly declared against Assad an thus …any other ruler who for a moment, thought such acts would go unopposed.

And here…you must know that I see it so right now, and if we could go back and do it just that way….I ask again why not now?
Why not right this minute? Why not a force of many nations loudly declared, arranged in force at every borders line?
If what we see in Syria is not right now……. do what should have been done. Stop it! Stop it now!

Stop it for the Syrian’s. Stop it at the same time, for the next people anywhere, any street !
We did not do it right…we must do it now!
We must act in Syria !

We must prove we have the will to stand against such things, such slaughter!
Prove to those that would deny such life, do such horror…that there is no limit to what we will do to stop such things…anywhere anytime.
We were mistaken to think we could just wait, just hope, or just yell against it all !!
Prove to such rulers ….we will not let them deny such hope and life again! EVER !!

That includes the like of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia !!
Let these governments rise from the dark ages to the 21st Century, and stop their oppression!

Nov 04, 2012 1:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
“Prove to those that would deny such life, do such horror…that there is no limit to what we will do to stop such things…anywhere anytime.”

SyriasTruth;

No limits you say? Are you a terrorist? Do you condone all the massacres carried out by the foreign backed Islamists, the latest of which was last week?

This is a thread on Kuwait by the way…

Nov 04, 2012 2:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
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