Kuwaiti ‘Bidoons’ Protest Demanding Citizenship
At least 400 “bidoons,” or people without official nationality, gathered in the Kuwaiti city of Jahra to demand Kuwaiti citizenship. Riot police responded with tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds when they defied a fifteen minute deadline to leave the area. According to Kuwaiti law, only nationals have the right to hold public gatherings. Kuwaiti security forces reportedly detained 25 protesters and while chasing others out of the protests back to their homes. This comes as a trial began four days ago for 50 bidoons who were arrested for similar protests in February and March. Currently, there are an estimated 100,000 bidoons in Kuwait, who are officially considered illegal aliens. Kuwaiti officials have said it is studying the issue carefully and will grant citizenship to those “deemed deserving.”
Additionally, Kuwait’s public prosecutor has begun an investigation against former members of parliament into corruption charges that allegedly lead to the current economic crisis in Kuwait. A number of former MPs have been summoned to answer questions regarding large sums of money deposited in their bank accounts, which opposition leaders say were bribes paid by cabinet members to secure the MPs’ backing. The Kuwaiti government resigned last month after demonstrators stormed the parliament protesting then-Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammed Al Sabah for corruption and mismanagement. Kuwait is one of the few countries in the region with a fully elected parliament with legislative power.