Kuwait braces for pro-democracy rallies

Last Updated: Monday, March 7, 2011 - 20:36

Kuwait city: Kuwait braced for
demonstrations against the government on Tuesday as youth groups
promised to take their campaign to oust the Prime Minister to
the streets of the oil-rich emirate.

The Fifth Fence youth group has been using
microblogging website Twitter to urge its supporters to join a
rally coinciding with parliament`s first meeting after a
six-week break.

Opposition blocs representing Islamists, liberals and
nationalists have separately demanded Prime Minister Sheikh
Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the nephew of the emir,
step down after five years on the job.
"The first step toward reform is forming a new
government under a new prime minister that should be capable
of running the country and reforming imbalances," the
nationalist Popular Action Bloc said in a statement last week.

The protests come at a time of tumult and upheaval
across the Middle East which has seen the veteran autocratic
rulers of Egypt and Tunisia swept from power and threatened
the regimes of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen.
New media like Facebook and Twitter played a key role
in mobilising Egypt`s young protesters and Fifth Fence is
hoping to repeat the formula in Kuwait.

"The best solution is your (prime minister`s)
departure. Kuwait deserves better," one recent message on its
Twitter feed said.

Another new youth group called Kafi, or "Enough" in
Arabic, urged an "open and continuous" sit-in at a main square
in Kuwait City "until our demands are achieved."

Those demands include a new prime minister and an end
to corruption in the US ally, which has been ruled by the
Al-Sabah family for more than 250 years without challenge.

Sheikh Nasser has fought parliamentary opposition
since his appointment in early 2006. Five of his six cabinets
were forced to resign and parliament was dissolved three
times.

Opposition voices including the liberal Democratic
Forum, which has one MP, and the Islamist Ummah Party, have
called for a premier from outside the Al-Sabah family.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, March 7, 2011 - 20:36

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