Amnesty: Kuwait needs to avoid protest crackdown

November 28, 2012 16:22

KUWAIT - Kuwaiti authorities must allow protesters to gather peacefully and express their views without the threat of arrest, Amnesty International said ahead of an opposition march over voting rules planned later this week.

Protesters plan a march in central Kuwait on Friday, on the eve of parliamentary elections which the opposition is boycotting in protest.

Opposition politicians and youth protest groups say new voting rules introduced by Kuwait's 83-year-old ruler in October are an attempt to skew the December 1 election in favor of pro-government candidates.

The emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, says the voting system is flawed and that the changes are constitutional and needed for the sake of Kuwait's "security and stability".

"Protesters must be allowed to peacefully assemble to voice their views without hindrance or fear of arrest and such gatherings should be permitted to form into marches or other types of peaceful protest," London-based Amnesty said in a statement posted on its website.

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