Rights group: Kuwait used 'excessive force' at demos

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December 27, 2012 15:37

 
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KUWAIT - Kuwaiti security forces appear to have used excessive force to disperse several largely peaceful street protests since October, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday, citing activists, protesters and witnesses.

Tens of thousands of Kuwaitis have taken to the streets over the past two months to protest changes to voting rules used in a parliamentary election on Dec. 1 that they said would skew the outcome in favor of pro-government candidates.

The Interior Ministry justified the use of force on the grounds that protesters had blocked traffic, thrown stones at the police, and attacked them, HRW said. But participants said the demonstrations were largely peaceful.

"They said that masked riot police used tear gas and sound bombs without warning to disperse demonstrations and beat protesters while arresting them for participating in 'unauthorized protests,'" the New York-based rights group said.

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