[QODLink]
Middle East
Kuwaiti riot police disperse protesters
Tear gas and water cannons used against some 400 stateless demonstrators who are demanding citizenship in the Gulf state
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2011 13:51
Under Kuwaiti law, only citizens have the right to hold public gatherings, while foreigners are banned [AFP]

Kuwaiti riot police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of stateless protesters who were
demanding citizenship and other basic rights, the AFP news agency reports.

The police attacked some 400 people who gathered following noon prayers on Friday in Jahra, 50km northwest of Kuwait City, raising Kuwaiti flags and banners reading: "We demand Kuwaiti citizenship".

Police arrested at least six stateless people, a journalist and a photographer of a local newspaper.

The assault came after the protesters refused to disperse, defying a police deadline to clear the area within 15 minutes. Security forces chased protesters to their nearby homes, while a helicopter hovered overhead.

The demonstration came four days after a Kuwaiti lower court began the trial of around 50 stateless people, locally known as bidoons, who were arrested during similar protests in February and March.

The men were charged by the court of illegal assembly with the intent to commit crimes and assault security forces. All the defendants denied the charges and said they committed no offence.

Under Kuwaiti law, only citizens have the right to hold public gatherings while foreigners are banned.

Kuwait launched a crackdown on the estimated 100,000 bidoons in 2000, depriving them of health care, education and jobs. The stateless claim they are Kuwaiti citizens who have been denied nationality.

The wealthy Gulf state, which considers bidoons illegal residents, has said that it is studying the issue carefully and is prepared to grant citizenship to those deemed deserving. 

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
join our mailing list