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:
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”:
One of the protesters on the ground after clashes with security forces:
One of the protesters who got shot with a rubber bullet:
Security officers start to crack down on protesters:
Protesters leaving the parliament after storming it:
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: