Kuwait arrests former lawmakers in protests over elections  

24 October 2012

Political situation in Gulf state continues to deteriorate

Kuwait’s riot police have arrested a large number of opposition activists, including former parliamentarians (MPs) during demonstrations calling for the boycott of the Gulf state’s latest elections, planned for 1 December.

Former MP Waleed al-Tabatabei, who had previously called for demonstrations and boycotts was among those arrested after clashes with police at Liberation Tower in Kuwait City, the local English-language newspaper, Arab Times reports.

Protesters walked in procession down to Seif Palace, the seat of Kuwait’s government. Roads were blocked by security forces from the Interior Ministry who used tear gas and batons to break up the march.

The gathering was intended to protest changes made by the government to Kuwait’s electoral law, reducing the number of votes per person to one, from four previously, while increasing the number of voting districts. The cabinet has now adopted a decree setting 1 December as the date for Kuwait’s latest parliamentary elections.

Musallam al-Barak, another former lawmaker, who had received the largest single amount of votes in Kuwait’s February elections, was also detained by police. He had been outspoken at a rally in mid-October, denouncing the Emir’s plans to change the electoral law.

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