Anonymous Twitter Account Leads Major Protests in Kuwait

After witnessing its biggest protest, the anonymous organizers of the “Dignity March” called for another one. Tens of thousands showed up in the areas of Mishref and Sabah Al-Salem protesting the Kuwaiti ruler's amendment of the voting law, which now allows a citizen to vote for one candidate instead of four. Protesters did not find the Amir's decree constitutional and believe the new law is made to play with the coming elections in December and to weaken the opposition that won most of the parliament's seats earlier this year. Like the previous march, Sunday's [Nov. 4, 2012] protest witnessed smoke and tear gas bombs and several arrests of protesters, who were later released.

Who is leading the protests?
In the past few years, protests were criticized because they were led by opposition MPs. Lately, the youth tried to be the leaders of those protests. This shift got bigger numbers to show up for those dignity marches. What is interesting though is that an anonymous Twitter account is the one deciding dates of both marches and the meeting points.
The account @KarametWatan [Arabic for Dignity of a Nation] tweeted a message on the 24th of October to Twitter not to revel their identity to the Kuwaiti authorities:

We the people of Kuwait ask you to protect the privacy of our account details of @karametwatan from all/any officials seeking the information of the owners and/or IP addresses of the persons using and posting from the mentioned account. We are responsible for the organization of a march called “Dignity of a Nation” in Kuwait, the largest ever march in the history of Kuwait calling for democracy, human rights, and fight against corruption. The turn-out reached over 150,000 (around 11.5% of citizens of Kuwait) that stunned the government. In return the government ordered their forces to attack the peaceful demonstration in a brutal manner that was never been seen before for no reason. Over 100 people were injured and over 50 were detained in an unlawful manner. We do not feel safe and your protection of our privacy is pivotal.

In a comment on having a Twitter account organizing those major marches, Hamad Al-Sabah wrote:

@hmalsabah: Am I the only one that is uneasy about the fact that thousands of people in #Kuwait are obeying the commands of some anonymous Twitter acct?

Should Bahrainis support Kuwaitis?
Considering the sectarian remarks and support of Kuwaiti opposition figures for the Bahraini regime against the February 14th revolution, the Shia of Kuwait do not want to protest next to the opposition. This, in result, influenced the Shia of Bahrain and started a discussion on whether Bahrainis should or should not support Kuwaiti marches. In comment on this topic, Bahraini Human Rights Defender Maryam AlKhawaja wrote:

@MARYAMALKHAWAJA: yes, i support anyone with righteous demands regardless of whether they support mine or not.

@MARYAMALKHAWAJA: there r many of whom supported the bahrain protests who r taking part in the kuwaiti protests as well. but thats not the point

Another Bahraini activist, Ahmed Al-haddad, from the European-Bahraini Organization for Human Rights wrote [ar]:

اذ كنت تعتقد بأن لك الحق بتصوير الحراك الكويتي على أنه أخونجي وطائفي اذا يحق لغيرك تصوير حراكك بالشيعي الطائفي

@DiabloHaddad: If you think you have the right to consider the Kuwaiti struggle as of Muslim Brotherhood and sectarian, then others have the right to consider yours [Bahraini struggle] as Shia and sectarian too.

Other objections
Aside from the sectarian conflict, there were others who showed objection to the current protests. Hamad Al-Sabah, who thinks the coming parliament can solve this crisis instead of protests, tweeted:

@hmalsabah: Let me reiterate that I believe that the protesters have a just cause, but I don't support their methods. It can easily be solved peacefully

In reply, Fawaz Al-Matroud wrote:

@FawazAM: people often mistake mob rule and political freedom. Just because lots of people break the law together, doesn't make them right.

As for blogger “His & Hers”, he tweeted:

@HisHersQ8: The Amir has a point when it came to illegal protests. Democracies all around the world stops any illegal protests

Liberal tweep Khaled AJaser tweeted:

@k_jaser: i hope the stockpile of tear gas & sound bombs are limitless here in #Kuwait for there is no other way of dealing with this lawlessness.

Pictures and videos of the protest

Crowds getting tear gassed (posted on Twitter by @Fajoor)

Picture of security vehicles heading towards protesting points (posted by blogger alziadiq8)

One of the protesters with her sign (posted by blogger alziadiq8)

And this photograph, which was shared far and wide, showing a protester, helping a security personnel, who was effected by the tear-gas:

Picture of a protester helping a security man who was effected by tear gas (posted by @AboShla5Libraly)

Footage of the protest in Mishref area (posted by saad971)

Another footage showing bombs, injuries, and marches (posted by 7eyad)

Video of the protest in Sabah Al-Salem area (posted by KharjAlsrb)

Did Jordanians crackdown on Kuwaitis?
Weeks ago, an anonymous Twitter user named Mujtahidd tweeted about Jordan sending troops to repress Kuwaiti protesters. The popular and controversial Twitter user got Salafi MP Walid AlTabtabai to tweet the news. Yesterday, in the protest, former MP and opposition frontman Musalam Al-Barrak gave a controversial speech. The MP was jailed last week for defaming the Amir but got released in two days due to the big protests that took place in his support.

In this video, Al-Barrak says: “Security men are our brothers. If they beat you, do not react. But if they are Jordanian or Palestinian security men, then we will step on them.”

In reaction, Jordan's foreign ministry made a statement denying the accusations.

The Amir's reply
Due to the major protests, people were expecting the Amir to take back his decree that stirred all those marches. However, the Amir made a speech on Monday stating that he will not take his decision back and that he leaves it for the coming parliament to amend the voting law. He also added that he has the support of GCC countries in keeping the security of his country. Here's the video of his speech (posted by blogger AlZiadiq8)


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