Kuwait: The Country's Biggest Protest?

Tear gas and stun grenades were used to disperse a protest in Kuwait against changes to the electoral law. The call for the Karamat Watan (A Nation's Dignity) march, which took place on Sunday, was made on Twitter, and attracted about 150,000 out of the country's population of 3 million. Media outlets considered this number to be the biggest in the small Gulf emirate's history.

The protest came in reaction to the Amir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah decree to change the electoral law, making a citizen vote for one candidate instead of four, as it used to be in the elections of Kuwaiti parliament. The protest was not only an objection for making such a change but more importantly to protest the change of a law without the parliament or the people having their say in it. Since last June, Kuwaiti parliament has been frozen by the Amir and then dissolved by the constitutional court for ‘wrong procedures’ in dissolving the parliament before it.

The opposition has been protesting since but was never able to gather such a huge crowd; even the liberal “Tahalof” and Pan-Arabist “Manbar” took part in Sunday's demonstration despite their disagreement with the Islamist-Conservative opposition.

In a unique step, this demonstration was organized through Twitter. The account @KarametWatan [ar] (which translates to A Nation's Dignity) was started to call for the protest. It suggested an orange avatar (in reference to the 2006 youth movement that changed the electoral law from 25 districts to 5), and organized the meeting points with the following map:

The protest route

The protest route shared by @KarametWatan on Twitter

As usual, Kuwaitis used Twitter to post pictures and videos of the protest. Here are some of the pictures:

One of the signs the police asked its holder to drop

On Twitter, @NforNaser says the police asked him to drop this sign or else they would beat him up. The sign reads: Believe in the people; disbelieve in the system.

Picture of the crowds marching posted by @nourah_ibrahim

A protester with a head injury (photo posted by @BuNaWaFF)

Another injured protester with his feet cuffed (posted by @3asalaswad)

Protesters running away from tear gas bombs (posted by @JanarlySpeaking)

To show the numbers, crowds, and chants, this video was posted on YouTube by Q8jo7a:

Here is another video of the crowds marching, from a distance, posted by jozifanto:

Blogger Alziadi posted this video showing protesters running from the tear gas bombs:

On Monday [Oct 22], Sabr Online Newspaper reported that all detained protesters have been released:

@Sabrnews: عاجل/ إطلاق سراح جميع معتقلي مسيرة “كرامة وطن

Urgent: All those arrested in the Nation's Dignity march have been released


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