Security crackdown thwarts bedoon demo plan

KUWAIT: The heavy security measures taken to prevent any bedoon (stateless) residents from gathering for a demonstration in Irada (Determination) Square opposite parliament on Friday succeeded in preventing the protest, which had been called for on social networking sites, according to a security insider.

The measures, which included setting up checkpoints at the exits to Sulaibiya and Jahra, where most of Kuwait’s bedoon population lives, as well as maintaining a large police presence in the square and closing the parking lot there, were implemented at the behest of senior Ministry of Interior (MoI) officials, who cited the legislation preventing all non-Kuwaitis from holding any public protest in justification.

MP Musallam Al-Barrak said that any demonstration by bedoons could be self-defeating, negatively affecting their hopes of obtaining basic rights. He added, however, that protests are a natural result of bedoon people’s frustration at the government’s failure to fulfill the promises which it made to the country’s stateless people previously:

It appears that the government isn’t serious about ending this crisis as there have been no significant achievements since the previous protests,” said the MP, referring to the harshly-suppressed demonstrations by bedoon people in Sulaibiya and elsewhere earlier this year. “Delaying [resolution of] this issue without taking any definite steps moves that situation onto the verge of explosion,” he warned.

Another MP, Nadji Al-Abdulhadi, said that the calls for bedoon people to take part in demonstrations were not a “wise decision,” claiming that Kuwait’s government and parliament are on the same page on the government’s efforts to fully deal with the problem within the next five years. – Agencies
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