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Kuwait: Protesters Storm the National Assembly

Thousands of angry Kuwaitis stormed the National Assembly building on Wednesday 16 November, 2011, after police and security forces clashed with protestors. Kuwait's political sphere has been extremely tense in the past few years, and with the Arab Spring earlier this year, the situation took a new turn.

Before protests began in Tunisia and Egypt, there were clashes in Kuwait in December 2010 between the parliament and the Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, when some MPs were beaten by anti-riot police alongside people attending a political gathering organized in the house of Muslim Brotherhood MP Jimaan Al-Harbish.

MPs subsequently demanded the opportunity to quiz the prime minister and his ministers on charges of corruption; the cabinet resigned, and the prime minister was reappointed for the seventh time since he was first appointed five years ago.

Youth call for protests

After the Arab Spring, calls for protests in Kuwait started in March 2011 and around 1,000 protesters showed up, alongside politicians and MPs, to demand the departure of Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah whom they accuse of corruption.

Recently, the prime minister went to the Constitutional Court to get a valid decision that rules out any quizzing by MPs over accusations of bribery. Opposition members have also been accused of getting bribed or controlled by other figures such as ruling family members, who are battling with the current prime minister to win his chair.

This political wrangling has pushed the country's young people many times to try to organize themselves into a public movement demanding reforms and the resignation of Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah; however, some parliament members keep showing up to these protests in an attempt to take credit, chant, make statements, and lead the crowds to enforce their own agendas.

Storming the National Assembly

On 16 November, Kuwaiti youth who were just starting to camp in the capital Kuwait City's Erada Square in front of the National Assembly – enraged by what the prime minister did to run away from getting questioned – decided to protest in the square to once again demand his departure.

MPs showed up as usual and gave speeches, but when security forces tried to stop one of them from speaking, the situation escalated and clashes began with security forces that caused some injuries. Suddenly, the crowd decided to storm the National Assembly in an attempt to reclaim the parliament, which is referred to by the Kuwaiti constitution as “the house of the people.”

Here are pictures and videos of the event as tweeted by several protesters.

Clashes between protesters and security guards:

Image posted by @AbdullahBoftain on Twitpic

Image posted by @AbdullahBoftain on Twitpic

Protesters in the National Assembly's main hall (Abdullah Al-Salem Hall) standing over tables and chairs and chanting that “this their house and they have taken it back”:

Image posted by @waleed_bokubar on Twitpic

Image posted by @waleed_bokubar on Twitpic

One of the protesters on the ground after clashes with security forces:

Image posted by 3asalaswad on Yfrog

Image posted by 3asalaswad on Yfrog

One of the protesters who got shot with a rubber bullet:

Image posted by Twitter user @ALI_M_ALMUTAIRI

Image posted by Twitter user @ALI_M_ALMUTAIRI

Security officers start to crack down on protesters:

Image posted to Yfrog

Image posted to Yfrog

Protesters leaving the parliament after storming it:

Image posted by Twitter user @ALI_M_ALMUTAIRI

Image posted by Twitter user @ALI_M_ALMUTAIRI

7eyad news service posted this video to YouTube, which shows protesters singing “Leave, Leave, Leave” by the gate of the National Assembly:

@Wikileaks_q8 posted this video on twitter of protesters chanting “The people want to topple the president [the prime minister]“:

Sultan Al-Jazzaf (@sjazzaf) posted this video of the protesters and MPs after breaking into the National Assembly:

Video footage of different moments of the protest taken from Al-Youm TV which was live broadcasting the events:

  • Bo_jassim

    This has nothing to do with the arab spring its just some anarchist storming our parliment. This not how things are done democratically. Look at the names where was ahmad alsadoon, abdulla alroumi, saleh almolla and alangeri. This is not the way to do it, kuwait has more freedom than all the countries that revolted in the spring. Through out history we had protests just like the one in 1938 in the first majlis. 90% of africans would like to have a third of the benifits kuwaitis have. Most kuwaitis have chalets and travel when ever they can and thier living standards are high. We have media in kuwait most of it is biased to a group just look at who owns the tv stations and news papers. Scope pro government, alrai pro shaabi, alqabas pro watani etc. Where as in kuwait we vote for out mp not based on thier ideology but family links, tribal links etc. We had protests in the 80′s 90′s early 2000 and now so wr are used to it, and now non kuwaiti journalists who do not live in our society nor has spoke to kuwaitis about the situation linking it to the arab spring! It is an enternal affair that should be dealt with in kuwait or by kuwaitis in the media, you do not see kuwaitis commenting about who should become americas president. We can read about ron paul and mitt romney but we do not have a say in thier elections. I have read alot in the global media about kuwait and they have no clue about whats going on. Kuwait is a small society people know each other we all have relatives who work in the armed foeces. Just visit a dewaniya in kuwait and look at how close the people are. Look at the unrest in the late 80′s then we had the iraqi invasion and the people united just read the names of the people who lost thier lives. If you think that people in kuwait follow a certain politicam group just look at the election results people vote fpr individuals not parties. I myself votes for alsadoon, naji alabdulhadi , aljuwaihel and alroudhan.

    • http://monakareem.blogspot.com Mona Kareem

      Bo Jasim. Please read the post carefully. This is tackling what citizens online posted of the storming event. the introduction written says that with the Arab spring, the protests increased in numbers.

  • abdullah

    نص واكثر من النص اللي كانو طالعين بالمظاهره كانو موكويتين .. هالناس ماتبي مصلحت البلد يبون ينشرون الفساد وحاطين شعار لا للفساد.لانه ومافي كويتي اصيييييييييييييييييييييييييييييييييل دش القاعه عطوني اسامي ابي واحد يقولي اسم واحد يعرفه دش القاعه .. نسو معنى الوطن والولاء وجايبين معاهم ناس تمشي وراهم موكويتين عشان يخربون البلد.. وكل كويتي مايسمح في هالشي

  • Pingback: Kuwait: A New Prime Minister and Detainees Bailed Out · Global Voices

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