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Middle East
Kuwait withdraws controversial law
Residents had protested against restrictions on public gatherings.
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2008 19:48 GMT
Residents held an illegal rally last week
to protest against the law [AFP]

The Kuwaiti government has withdrawn a law restricting public gatherings following strong opposition from civil organisations, political groups and activists.
 
The cabinet issued a statement on Monday, saying it was withdrawing the amendments, but would propose a new bill after parliamentary elections next month.
General elections are to be held on May 17.  The polls will be the second in less than two years in the oil-rich Gulf state, scene of recent clashes between tribesmen and security forces.
 
Women, who won the right to vote in 2005, are taking part for the second time.
Kuwait has witnessed a series of political crises that has led to the resignation of three governments over the past two years.
  
Last week, the government approved the law and said a decree would be issued in the absence of parliament which was dissolved last month amid a political crisis.
 
Kuwaiti civil organisations, political groups and candidates in the elections have called the law a "flagrant violation of the constitution" which allows greater freedom to hold public meetings.
  
Two years the country's constitutional court revoked the previous law on public gatherings saying it was unconstitutional, thus allowing citizens to hold meetings without prior permission.
  
Under the new law, the organisers of public gatherings must apply to the interior ministry, which has the right to deny permission.
 
It also allows police and security forces to disperse public meetings if participants break the law.
Source:
Agencies
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