Citizens International

Kuwait opposition vows to defy ban on rally

posted November 4, 2012 by Aljazeera

Government threatens to use force if necessary as opponents renew demand for new electoral law to be repealed.

The Kuwaiti opposition says it will go ahead with a demonstration in defiance of a government ban but has urged supporters not to resort to violence.

The opposition, made up of Islamists, nationalists and liberals, won a general election in February but the constitutional court quashed the vote in June and reinstated the previous pro-government parliament.

Opposition leaders insist they have no desire to undermine the Al-Sabah ruling family and on Friday pledged their loyalty to the emir while renewing their demand for the new electoral law to be repealed.

“We will remain peaceful whatever the cost,” the organisers of the protest said on their Twitter account on Sunday.

“The peaceful march is a duty, a pledge and a commitment.”

The government has threatened to use force if necessary to prevent the march and may call in the army to stop the opposition  protest, Al-Anbaa newspaper reported on Saturday.

“The interior ministry will use all means necessary to prevent illegal processions,” Al-Anbaa quoted a security source as saying on Saturday.

“The army and national guard may be called in if needed to deal with any breach of public order.”

In a statement late on Saturday the government said that the interior ministry did not issue a permit for Sunday’s demonstration and that it has not received any application from organisers requesting to stage a protest.

The government also urged citizens to abide by the law and security forces have been placed on high alert ahead of the march which is due to begin at 8pm local time (17:00 GMT).

Security forces used tear gas to disperse two protests by tens of thousands of demonstrators in the past two weeks in which more than 130 protesters and 16 policemen were injured.

The opposition called Sunday’s march in Kuwait City to protest against an amendment to the electoral law ordered by Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Kuwait emir, last month before a snap December 1 parliamentary election.

Almost all opposition groups have said they will boycott the poll in protest over what they see as a bid to create a rubber stamp assembly.

Leading opposition figure Mussallam al-Barrak told supporters late Saturday night “to handover to police those who resort to violence.”

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