Over 500 Kuwaitis protest, demand prime minister resign

Demonstrators accuse Sheikh Nasser of corruption, inefficiency and attack him for refusal to be questioned in parliament.

By REUTERS
June 4, 2011 01:56
1 minute read.
Opposition lawmaker leads prayers in Kuwait

Kuwait protests 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee)

KUWAIT- Around 500 Kuwaitis staged an anti-government protest on Friday, demanding the resignation of the prime minister and an end to a political crisis hampering legislation in the major OPEC oil producer.

"The people want the overthrow of the head (of government)," the crowd chanted, echoing slogans of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square that led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Kuwait elected to UNHRC in Syria's stead
Iran expels 3 Kuwaiti diplomats in spy dispute

Thanks to a generous welfare system, Kuwait has avoided the mass protests by thousands of people that have forced out governments in Egypt and Tunisia.

But the Gulf Arab state has endured a long political stalemate and opposition has built up against Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, an influential member of the ruling family.

Last month, two lawmakers moved to question Sheikh Nasser over alleged misuse of public funds, a charge he denies. The request came days after he had unveiled his seventh cabinet.

The previous cabinet quit in March to avoid parliamentary questioning of three ministers.

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East

At a protest in front of parliament, speakers accused Sheikh Nasser of corruption and inefficiency and attacked him for his refusal to be questioned in parliament, which is something the ruling al-Sabah family has sought to avoid.

"The people are the only source of legislation...The young people are capable of overthrowing the head (of government)," activist Mohammad al-Hamlan told the cheering crowd.

"Nasser, step down for the sake of Kuwait," a poster said.

Several opposition and pro-democracy groups had called for the protest which came a day after a much smaller pro-government rally on the same square in the center of Kuwait City.

Kuwait, which sits on a tenth of global crude reserves, allows more political freedom than Gulf neighbors such as Saudi Arabia where few dare criticize the government or members of the ruling family.

But tensions in Kuwait's parliament, which must approve all major bills and the budget, have delayed legislation aimed at attracting investment to diversify the economy away from oil.


Related Content

April 19, 2018
White House works to fill its own vacuum in Syria with allied Arab forces

By MICHAEL WILNER

Israel Weather
  • 15 - 30
    Beer Sheva
    18 - 25
    Tel Aviv - Yafo
  • 15 - 26
    Jerusalem
    16 - 25
    Haifa
  • 20 - 36
    Elat
    17 - 32
    Tiberias