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Middle East
Protesters storm Kuwaiti parliament
Dozens briefly enter building as hundreds protest outside, calling for assembly's dissolution amid claims of corruption
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2011 09:58

Kuwaiti leaders held crisis talks after protesters demanding the resignation of the premier, a key member of the ruling Al Sabah family, stormed the parliament in a sharp escalation of tension.

Opposition lawmakers warned of a growing political crisis after dozens of anti-government protesters muscled their way into Kuwait's parliament during debates over efforts to question the prime minister about corruption allegations.

Local media reported the demonstrators briefly chanted before being forced out as hundreds of others protested outside on Wednesday.

Opposition parliament members have sought to question Prime Minister Sheik Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah over claims that government officials illegally transferred money to accounts outside the Gulf country.

Last month, Kuwait's foreign minister resigned as the scandal grew.

Pro-government lawmakers managed to vote down a request for the questioning, but opposition groups filed another motion to force another debate later this month.

"House of the people"

The protesters had earlier on Wednesday marched to Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah's home to demand his resignation, an opposition MP said, but police used batons to prevent them.

"Now, we have entered the house of the people," said Mussallam al-Barrak, who led the protest along with several other politicians and youth activists also calling for the dissolution of parliament over alleged corruption.

The police had used batons to prevent protesters from marching to the residence of the prime minister, a senior member of the ruling family, after staging a rally outside parliament.

Witnesses said at least five demonstrators were injured and treated on the site.

Some activists said they will continue to camp outside parliament until the prime minister is sacked.

Fahad al-Khanna, a former member of parliament, told Al Jazeera: "We have already been out in the streets protesting peacefully, we will not abandon our country to a bunch of corrupt thieves, we are urgently calling for an early parliamentary election in the country."

Calls to resign

Tension has been building in Kuwait over the past three months after it was alleged that about 16 MPs in the 50-member parliament received about $350m in bribes.

 

The opposition has been leading a campaign to oust the premier, whom they accuse of failing to run the wealthy nation and fight corruption, which has become widespread.

Earlier on Wednesday, about 20 opposition opposition boycotted a parliamentary session, a day after the government and its supporters succeeded in rejecting a bid by the opposition to quiz the premier over allegations of corruption.

After the rejection, three opposition MPs filed a fresh request
to question the prime minister over allegations of fraud involving MPs and illegal overseas money transfers.

The premier, 71, has been a target of opposition criticism since he was appointed to the job in February 2006, forcing him to resign six times.

Parliament has also been dissolved three times in the same period.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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