Kuwaiti police attack anti-government protesters
Published Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Riot police used batons to beat anti-government protesters in Kuwait City last night, arresting six and injuring four, as they criticized the ruling family and demanded a greater political voice, witnesses said.
At least 5,000 protesters attended the rally, defying a government order to cancel the demonstration outside the national assembly.
Video shows marchers confronting police:
"We are not scared of your new batons nor the jails you have built ... violence will only lead to counter-violence," an opposition leader, Mussallem al-Barrak, said during a speech.
"Kuwaiti people will not allow the country to be governed through an autocratic rule," the former MP told the crowd.
Abdul Aziz al-Saadoun, the son of a prominent opposition figure and former parliament speaker Ahmed al-Saadoun, was among those arrested at the rally.
Video shows police arresting Abdul Aziz al-Saadoun:
Protesters are demanding the government scraps plans to amend the controversial electoral law, which the opposition says would benefit pro-government candidates in parliamentary elections.
The emir, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, dissolved Parliament earlier this month, opening the door to new elections within 60 days.
Islamist and tribal candidates performed well during the last elections in February. They formed an opposition bloc to rival the ruling family-dominated government.
Opposition and Bedouin tribal leaders have threatened to boycott the elections should the electoral law be amended.
The al-Sabah family has ruled Kuwait for over 250 years. The emir, crown prince, prime minister and key cabinet ministers all hail from the ruling family.