Middle East

Kuwait forces bar protesters from parliament

Sit-in outside parliament broken up as new legislature is inaugurated by emir after poll boycotted by opposition.
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2012 11:40
Anti-government factions have staged near-daily demonstrations since the December 1 vote [Reuters]

Security forces in Kuwait have blocked hundreds of protesters from staging a rally outside the nation's parliament building.

After being removed from outside parliament on Sunday, demonstrators gathered in front of Kuwait's supreme court building. The non-violent confrontation came as the country's ruler inaugurated the new legislature amid criticism from the opposition

Anti-government factions, which have held near-daily demonstrations, earlier boycotted a December 1 election over objections to changes in voting rules.

Protest leaders are vowing to increase pressures until Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, disbands the current parliament and orders new elections and reinstating former voting rules that allowed casting multiple ballots.

The opposition says the amendments of the electoral law enables the government to control the outcome of polls.

According to a statement from the ministry of information, the new parliament is "younger and more diverse than its predecessors", allowing the inclusion of all Kuwaitis in the political process, and enacting long stalled initiatives.

“We are eager to work with government to bring about the development and reforms that will ensure Kuwait’s continued prosperity,” said Yacoub Alsanea, one of the newly elected member of parliament.

Violent confrontations between riot police and youth activists erupted earlier this month as protesters express their rejection to the election.

All the 50 seats in the legislature were won by pro-government candidates after the opposition boycotted the poll.

Al-Sabah has said his amendments will help preserve national security and stability.

The Gulf state has been rocked by a series of political disputes since mid-2006 between parliamentarians and the government.


Al Jazeera and agencies
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