Kuwait: police use stun grenades on thousands protesters as emir meets with opposition


Kuwaiti opposition supporters run for cover as riot police fire tear gas during a protest in Kuwait City, on October 21, 2012, against the decision by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah to amend the electoral law despite it having been confirmed by a court last month. Kuwaiti riot police beat opposition protesters who were gathering for a massive demonstration against a decision to change the electoral law, organisers and witnesses said.


Yasser Al-Zayyat

Police in Kuwait fired stun grenades and used smoke bombs to disperse thousands of anti-government demonstrators in the capital today, according to Agence France Press

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The crackdown came as Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah held talks with four top opposition leaders in what appeared to be a bid for mediation, reported AFP

Policial unrest has been on the rise in Kuwait after the emir ordered a controversial last-minute amendment to an electoral law, said AFP

Protesters temporarily obstructed a main road south of Kuwait City, said AFP, which was part of their planned rally -- an event the government earlier warned would not be tolerated. 

Authorities on Saturday said no protests had been approved, reported Reuters, and the government earlier today deployed special forces in the capital in a warning move. 

A protest last month also saw riot police resorting to tear gas and stun grenades, a witness told Reuters

Political rallies are not unusual in Kuwait, an OPEC member and US ally, according to Reuters, saying the government is more representative than many of its neighbors. However, the emir does have full control of state affairs and selects the prime minister. 

Kuwait is set to hold elections on December 1.