anti corruption protests in Kuwait

Thousands of people on Wednesday gathered to stage a sit-in in Kuwait City after a call to do so by a former Parliament member to protest against bureaucratic corruption and poor public services.

Iran Press/Middle East: Current and former members of Parliament – along with a number of Bidoons, a social class in Kuwait lacking Kuwaiti or any other nationality – participated in the protest, which took place in the iconic Al-Erada Square, Iran Press reported.

The Bidoons don't have legal access to many rights, such as basic education, healthcare or the ability to travel freely. Two Bidoons recently committed suicide in two separate incidents, sparking a widespread outcry over the past couple of days. The protesters also called for Bidoons to be granted Kuwaiti nationality.

Former legislator Saleh al-Mulla had organized the protests against “bureaucratic corruption, the poor level of public services and the depletion of public funds.” He launched a hashtag – “Bas Mskhet” – a colloquial phrase that means “enough already” via his Twitter account.

 Al-Erada Square, on which the Parliament building stands, has witnessed several protests since 2011.

In November 2011, massive rallies against corruption took place in the square, with demonstrators storming the parliamentary facilities, an incident involving lawmakers and public figures. Following that event, which was criticized by the Emir of Kuwait, the head of state dissolved both Parliament and the government and called new elections.

Kuwaitis took to the square in February calling on the government to write off the loans they took from banks and financial companies.

According to Kuwaiti newspaper Al Anba, some 240,000 citizens and residents have been arrested and banned from traveling due to non-payment of loans.

Kuwait has a population of 4.5 million, just 31 percent of whom are Kuwaitis.

Protesters have been calling for a radical change in the way power and wealth is distributed in the country and have made it clear they will not accept superficial reforms.   205/211/204

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