Kuwait warns against illegal rallies

September 11, 2012

Kuwait’s interior ministry has warned of a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal gatherings and sit-ins.

The ministry in a statement said that it was fully ready to protect the state’s security and stability and that the calls for the events at Al Irada Square undermined security and threatened public order.

The warning was issued as members of the opposition announced that they would hold a rally at the square and that they were ready to stay the night to exert further pressure on the government to cancel its decision to refer the controversial 2006 electoral law to the Constitutional Court.

The government attributed its move to a wish to end all legal loopholes that could be used to challenge future elections and to ensure a fair representation of all constituencies in the parliament.

The opposition has charged that the move was a coup to undermine its growing power and pledged to resort to the street to press for its demands.

A rally was held earlier in the month, but did not achieve the success the opposition had anticipated following the emergence of cracks within the coalition.

However, the opposition believes that it can build on the first rally to press for more demands and mount greater challenges.

The ministry urged nationals to refrain from responding to calls issued through the media and various social networks, inciting them to participate in illegal gatherings and sit-ins, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

In its statement, the ministry said that Article 34 of Kuwait’s penal code stipulated that any assembly of at least five people in a public area to commit a crime or harm state security that refuses to comply with specific orders to vacate the area could face prison terms up to one year and or a 100 Dinar fine.

Law 65/1979 on holding demonstrations and gatherings stipulates prison terms and fines against anyone who calls for them without a proper licence, the statement said.

However, the ministry insisted that it respected citizens’ freedom of expression, provided they did not break the law or carried out acts against public security and other people’s freedom of expression.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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