‘Stateless’ Protests Defy Ban in Kuwait

Posted January 14th, 2012 at 5:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Rights groups and witnesses said Saturday riot police in Kuwait fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of people demonstrating for the second consecutive day for the right to become Kuwaiti citizens.

The rallies Friday and Saturday defied a protest ban by Kuwaiti authorities. The demonstrations were led by stateless Arabs, known as Bidoons. Many are descendants of desert nomads, who have been deprived citizenship and rights. Kuwaiti citizens are entitled to generous state-provided services and benefits such as free health care.

The Kuwait Society for Human Rights said police detained dozens of protesters, including at least two of its members who were trying to monitor Saturday's protests.

Kuwait plans to hold parliamentary elections in February. Stateless residents are not allowed to vote.