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Tue 24 Mar 2015 12:42 PM

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Kuwait: Riot police called as hundreds protest outside parliament

Protesters demanded the release of ‘political prisoners’ and called for democratic reforms

Kuwait: Riot police called as hundreds protest outside parliament
Kuwaiti policemen disperse opposition protesters during a demonstration to demand the release of political prisoners and press for democratic reforms in the oil-rich Gulf state, on March 23, 2015 outside the national assembly in Kuwait City. (AFP/Getty Images)

Kuwait’s riot police were used to disperse hundreds of protesters demanding the release of “political prisoners” and democratic reforms, local media have reported.

Activists have gathered outside the National Assembly on several occasions during the past three weeks in support of opposition leader and former MP Musallam Al Barrak, who was jailed for insulting the Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

But on Monday, police used batons to beat protesters and force them to disperse as they marched towards parliament, Kuwait Times said.

Several protesters were hurt and others were arrested, independent rights group Kuwait National Committee for Monitoring Violations said on Twitter.

Activist Nawaf Al Hendal claimed at least a dozen people were arrested. The group included women and other former MPs.

Peaceful public protests are not illegal in Kuwait with a permit but authorities have cracked down on some rallies since 2012, with several opposition MPs arrested and some stripped of their citizenship.

The opposition has boycotted the previous two elections on the grounds they would be unfair under the new one vote policy, considered to weaken the opposition, and have launched numerous protests both on the streets and in social media.

 

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