* Interior Ministry takes firm line on marches
* Pockets of street unrest since Saturday's election
* Youth groups, opposition plan demonstration Saturday
By Sylvia Westall
KUWAIT, Dec 5 Kuwait's Interior Ministry said it
would take all necessary measures to prevent "unauthorised
assembly" in the Gulf Arab state after dispersing protesters it
said threw stones and tried to mow down police with cars.
Police have broken up a series of snap demonstrations
outside the capital since Saturday, part of protests triggered
by changes to voting rules the opposition said were designed to
skew elections in favour of pro-government candidates.
The opposition, which includes Islamist and populist
politicians, refused to stand in last Saturday's parliamentary
"A crowd marched in several residential areas in some
districts in violation of laws and procedures," the Interior
Ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency KUNA
late on Tuesday, referring to a march the previous evening.
"The Interior Ministry will never allow any unauthorised
gatherings whatever their aims and needs are." It said several
police were hurt on Monday when some protesters in cars
attempted to run over police. Others were hit by stones.
Tens of thousands marched peacefully in the capital on
Friday in what organisers said was the largest protest in
Kuwaiti history, to urge people to shun the election.
The authorised march was organised by youth groups and
backed by opposition politicians on the eve of the election.
They plan another march on Saturday.
Rallies outside parliament have been held regularly and
peacefully for years, but police broke up three big marches in
October and November with tear gas, saying organisers did not
have a permit.
Protesters in those marches said they were pushing for
reform, not an Arab Spring-style revolution like those that have
ousted four Arab autocratic rulers since early last year.
BAN ON UNLICENSED GATHERINGS
Kuwait allows more political freedom than other Gulf Arab
states but has been more readily reinforcing a ban on public
gatherings of more than 20 people without a permit.
The government made it clear last month it would suppress
unauthorised street protests to protect public safety, but
analysts say the hard line could provoke deeper unrest.
The Alaan news website showed pictures of injured protesters
and said others had been detained. It said police used a water
cannon to disperse crowds on Monday. Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai
said the protest was broken up with tear gas and stun grenades.
Kuwaitis protested again overnight on Tuesday in Sabah
al-Nasser and Jahra, some of the more run-down neighbourhoods to
the southwest of Kuwait City, al-Rai added.
On Wednesday, the daily published a photo of a police firing
tear gas from a truck and a photo of a group of youths with
headscarves wrapped around their faces throwing what it said
were stones. It was not clear when the pictures taken.
Saturday's election was divisive due to the change to voting
rules announced by emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah six weeks
before the poll. He said the changes fixed flaws in the voting
system and would help ensure national unity and stability.
The opposition refused to contest the election, saying the
new rule was designed to prevent it winning the majority it held
in the last parliament and called for more demonstrations.