MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Musallam Al-Barrak and others addressing the protestors
Heavy security presence dampens Friday ‘rage’ Protestors demand reforms, urge PM to quit

KUWAIT CITY, May 27: The ‘Day of Rage’ organized by political youth activists and opposition MPs witnessed heavy security on Friday prompting hundreds of demonstrators to re-direct their protest towards Al-Baladiya (Munici-pality) Square. The rally, which called for the ouster of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, ended without incident after demonstrators marched towards the National Assembly and called for future protests.

Security Forces trucks and police cars barricaded Al-Safat Square as well as streets surrounding it. The square was the arena opposition MPs were adamant to hold their demonstration in. Security Forces had strict instructions not to let any demonstrator enter the square and to arrest any violators.

Minister of Interior, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Humoud, was also present at the Al-Baladiya Square rally listening keenly to their demands. Major Tareq Hammad informed the media that he has instructions not to allow MPs and citizens to enter Al-Safat Square, stressing that the Interior Ministry will deal harshly with anyone who breaks the law.

A small group of demonstrators, however, moved towards the forbidden square to break the human shield formed by the security forces but were prevented from doing so.

MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei, Mussalam Al-Barrak, Daifulaah Buramya, and Khalid Tahous in addition to former MP Fahad Al-Khanna and some political activist attended the rally. MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabtaaei said that the aim of this gathering is to express their opinion, stressing that Kuwait is a democratic country and so there would be no clashes with police but that the Interior Ministry has no right to impose on them where to hold their gathering.

Youth organizations ‘Kafi’ and ‘Al-Sour Al-Khamis’ as well as a group called the Youth Movement for Change chanted ‘Down with the government’ in front of the square while pro-government civilians accused them of stirring up trouble and expressed their support of the government and its prime minister.

The number of protestors immediately increased with the presence of MPs, reaching to hundreds of activists and civilians. The demonstrators held placards that read: “We want removal of Nasser Al-Mohammed, “The Youth Want Reform of the Regime” Youths want the Closure of Corrupt Channels” and “We want a Constitutional Parliament”.

Meanwhile, around 100 protesters followed the Ministry of Interior’s directions for civilians to express their demands in Al-Irada Square opposite the National Assembly and a number of youth activists reiterated their anti-government objections. They said that Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed disrupted development in the country and ruined relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain and condemned the government’s handling of the Iranian spy network case.

Furthermore, a small number of pro-Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah demonstrators were on scene holding a placard that said “Sheikh Nasser stays and troublesome MPs leave”. Both sides were witnessed verbally confronting each other with accusations of disloyalty to the country.

Also expressing their views were members of the Youth Movement for Change, who held signs saying “We want the NA dissolved because it does not express views of the people” and “We want the shutdown of corrupt media”. They demanded the reformation of the legislative, executive and judiciary authorities to represent the Kuwaiti people more efficiently and accurately.

They said that they are holding their demonstration in Al- Irada Square as per the MoI’s request as they do not wish a confrontation with the executive authority but the ouster of the prime minister. However, the demonstrators marched towards Al-Baladiya Square and joined the opposition MPs.

The officers also prevented the protesters from using Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Grand Mosque squares as alternatives to the Safat Square.

Assistant Undersecretary for Special Security Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Major General Sulaiman Al-Fahad led the securitymen in the assignment. The officers also used helicopters and surveillance cameras to monitor the protest, besides keeping 14 ambulances ready and alerting nearby hospitals to be ready in case of any untoward incident. They also kept some buses ready to transport any troublemakers they might arrest if they broke the law.

 


By: Nihal Sharaf and Abubakar A. Ibrahim

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