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Kuwait: Stateless Community Continues Protesting

This post is part of our special coverage Refugees.

The stateless community in Kuwait (Bedoon) has been protesting for their rights to documents and citizenship since February 2011. The community has been denied, for more than two decades, their rights to health care, education, employment, and all legal documents.

Regularly, the community protests in their isolated areas in Taimaa and Sulaibiya, resulting in countless arrests despite the fact that Kuwait's courts have been acquitting protesters constantly. This Friday, the Bedoon protested again as riot police arrested 12 of them; an action that made the community to continue to protest on Saturday and Sunday too.

Friday protest

Like many other protesters in the Arab World, Bedoon use Twitter to inform the world of the oppression practiced against them. Some Kuwaiti monitors and activists were at the protests too, using Twitter as the only medium to report violations. On Friday afternoon, Kuwaiti human rights monitor Maryam Shah posted this picture before the start of the protest showing riot police vehicles approaching Taimaa area.

The account of “Human Rights News” tweeted this low quality picture of Bedoon journalist Abdullah Mayah getting arrested:

Kuwaiti monitor Hanan tweeted the following updates from the protest:

@Hananesque: Sound and gas grenades were thrown at the stateless protestors in Taima in order to disperse them.

@Hananesque: Security forces randomly arrested three men that were standing in front of Burger King at Taima. ‪

The Bedoon Rights group was also tweeting updates live from the protest. Here are some of the tweets:

@BedoonRights: Taimaa police station is not taking any cases against police men who attacked protesters, says lawyer Mohammed AlOtaibi

@BedoonRights: You can clearly see that authorities gave clear orders to the mercenaries of media to work their propaganda against Bedoon today

Bedoon journalist @AhmedBinsalem posted this TV screenshot of a Bedoon woman getting water cannoned by riot police:

YouTube user ALZIADIQ8 posted this TV report showing Kuwaiti woman activist Fatma Al-Mattar telling her story of how a riot policeman attacked her during the protest as she was trying to stop him from beating a young Bedoon protester:

In reaction, Bahraini prominent activist and head of Gulf Center for Human Rights Nabeel Rajab tweeted [ar]:

اعتقالات نشطاء فئة البدون في الكويت‬ الشقيقة واقتحام منازلهم هو عمل غير انساني لن ينهي ازمتهم التي تحتاج لتصحيح وليس لتصعيب وتعقيد ‎‪
@NABEELRAJAB: Arrests of Bedoon activists in Kuwait and breaking in their houses are inhuman acts that won't solve their crisis which needs reform and not complication.

The deputy director of Gulf Center for Human Rights @khalidibrahim12 also tweeted in reaction:

@khalidibrahim12: No nationality no future no jobs no basic rights. That is the exact situation of the Bedoon in ‪#Kuwait‬ so they have every right to protest.

Bedoon Activist Ahmed AlFadhli (‏@ahmad_xavi) tweeted this picture of Ahmed Najm, one of the Bedoon detainees who was beaten when he gave himself in to policemen:

Bedoon vlogger 7MGAN posted 15 minutes footage of the Friday protest on YouTube:

On Saturday, as “Bedoon Rights” reported, police cars ran over two protesters, one of whom was 16 years old:

It was shocking for protesters to see riot police chasing them with their cars and actually run over two protesters. 16 year old Khaled Obaid Fadhel Al-Enizi was ran over by police and was taken to Jahraa hospital immediately. The state security police interrogated the bedoon teenager and his brother saying “who made you protest? why did you protest with those Shia?”. On Sunday, Al-Enizi was released when his family decided not to submit a complaint. As for the other protester who was run over by a police car, he immediately escaped without reporting the incident in fear of getting arrested.

This post is part of our special coverage Refugees.

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