Tens of thousands of Kuwaitis demand dissolution of new parliament (PHOTOS)
Protestors march to Kuwait Towers during as they protest against new voting rules at the Gulf Road in Kuwait City on December 8, 2012.
Protesters have hit Kuwait City demanding the dissolution of the parliament elected last week and the cancelation of an amendment to election laws. The emir invited the new house to hold its inaugural session, rejecting the opposition’s calls. Crowds of men, women and children wearing orange, the color of the protest movement, marched along a coastal road on the edge of the capital, heading for Kuwait Towers, a major landmark by the Gulf.
“This parliament is illegitimate, this [electoral law] amendment is illegal,” chanted the protesters.
The demonstrators called on the government to abolish the decree, which lowered the number of candidates a voter is eligible to pick from the maximum of four to one. They claim the amendment was adopted so that the government could have even more control over the parliament. Kuwait’s government, where members of the ruling family hold top posts, however, says the new rules bring the country in line with democratic norms elsewhere. Last week’s snap polls were boycotted by the opposition, and all 50 seats were won by pro-government candidates, including a record 17 seats by the Shiite minority.
The opposition’s supporters have been demonstrating for the second week in a row, attracting large numbers of people as police watched the protest without interfering. On Saturday, the demonstrators also raised banners reading “No to violence, enough arrests,” in reference to violent clashes between police and protesters over the past several days. The confrontations had broken out between riot police and youth activists who staged protests every night since Monday to express their rejection of the election. Police used teargas and stun grenades liberally while battling the activists at that demonstration. More than 150 protesters and 24 police officers were injured while dozens were arrested.
Protestors march as they protest against new voting rules at the Gulf Road in Kuwait City on December 8, 2012. (Reuters / Stephanie McGehee)
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