Kuwait Opposition Activists Stage Night Protest

Hundreds of opposition activists began a night time sit-in in the capital Kuwait City on Saturday to demand dissolution of the new parliament on the eve of its inauguration by the emir.

They had to change the original location of the protest from just opposite the parliament building to several hundred meters (yards) away after security men closed the area and blocked them.

Braving very cold weather, protesters chanted slogans calling for dissolving the parliament, which was elected two weeks ago in polls boycotted by the opposition.

They plan to stay all night.

Organizers informed protesters of the new location through their Twitter accounts and urged them to remain absolutely peaceful, calling on security men to protect the activists.

Two hours after the protest began, there were no riot police in the area while a number of police patrols watched the protesters.

The new parliament, almost entirely dominated by pro-government MPs, was elected on December 1 amid a massive boycott by the opposition in protest at the government's amendment of Kuwait's electoral law.

Following the election, the Islamist, nationalist and liberal opposition has called for the new parliament to be abolished, describing it as "illegitimate" because it was elected on the basis of the amendment.

The opposition also plans to gather outside parliament on Sunday and hold a rally in the same place in the evening.

A number of former opposition MPs were present at the sit-in.

Former MP Mussallam al-Barrak told the crowd the opposition will continue the peaceful protests "until this parliament of dummies collapses," adding that the opposition "will not allow anyone to manipulate the constitution."

Barrak vowed that the opposition will never deal with this parliament or government and "we will never allow the prime minister and the ministers to become members in any future government."

The opposition has staged many demonstrations in the past few weeks in which tens of thousands of protesters took part and some turned violent.

The oil-rich Gulf state has been rocked by a series of political crises since mid-2006, with the cabinet having resigned 10 times and parliament having been dissolved on six occasions.

Source: Agence France Presse

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