Re-post from the Arab Times
Sorry about the formatting. I'll have to change it later.
KUWAIT CITY, Dec 30: Thousands of bedoun gathered Friday at the Asha’aby Mosque square in Taima under the slogan ‘Our blood is Kuwaiti’ carrying flags and banners holding pictures of HH the Amir and HH the Crown Prince.
The number of demonstrators suddenly increased after Friday prayers following which special police forces threw a cordon around the area perimeter.
According to organizers about 5,000 bedoun demonstrated for what they call their rights. Children in large numbers also attended the demonstration.
Addressing the demonstrators Sheikh Athbi Al-Sabah said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud has received orders from HH the Amir to ‘end the misery’ of the ‘bedoun’.
He reiterated the bedoun who deserve to be naturalized will be given citizenship and called on the demonstrators to protest peacefully and legally in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior to get their rights.
Meanwhile, human rights activist Dr Ebtihal Al-Khateeb said during the demonstration the issue of bedoun has taken a long time to be resolved because of what she called ‘mutual deficiencies’ of successive governments and the bedoun themselves.
She pointed out humans must enjoy freedom, justice, and equality, in addition to the right of belonging to a country.
Al-Khateeb then called on the demonstrators to continue their journey as they ‘have legitimate demands that are not up for begging’.
Another activist, Fatma Al-Ali, stressed the bedoun issue has clear parameters. Addressing the Kuwaitis she said, ‘the bedoun from the 1940s until the 1980s are the current bedoun’.
No one has entered the country after the invasion because the US had sealed the borders between Kuwait and Iraq. Whoever says that they are Iraqis must file a lawsuit to end this suffering, said Al-Ali.
Dr Fahd Al-Samawy who is contesting the National Assembly elections from the area called on the government to resolve this issue away from parliamentary gain-making which comes at the expense of the feelings of bedoun who have waited long enough to get the their rights.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud earned praise for his statement on the bedoun issue and sources say it made a very good impression on bedoun protesters, reports Al-Seyassah daily.
The protesters lauded the manner in which the security apparatus handled the demonstration and singled out the traffic police for additional praise for preventing traffic jams.
Chairperson of the media committee of the Kuwaiti society monitoring parliamentary performances Faisal Al-Harbi, who was present at the gathering, said some bedouns are more respectable than some of the lawmakers who are trying to exploit the issue to make political gains. He urged authorities to find an immediate and lasting solution to the problems of the bedouns.
Participants in the gathering bemoaned the absence of former lawmakers who promised to stand by them and said former MP Musallam Al-Barrak who was to represent the Popular Action Bloc was nowhere to be seen.
Top security leaders of the Interior Ministry including Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs Major General Mustafa Al-Zuhabi, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security Affairs Major General Mahmoud Al-Dousari and Commander of Operations Major General Abdullah Al-Mihni were present at the gathering site.
The bedouns at the gathering repeated the pledge “With God as our witness, we pledge that our loyalty would be to him, then to the nation and then to HH the Amir; we pledge to always defend our country Kuwait with our life, money and children under the leadership of HH the Amir. We promise never to stop defending our aspirations for nationality.” They raised a 50-meter-long flag and flew kites bearing the image of the country’s flag besides singing the national anthem.
A Kuwaiti woman had also participated in the gathering and demanded that authorities solve the problems of the bedouns. She spoke about her plight when she was captured by Iraqi forces during the invasion.