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Kuwait detains ‘stateless’ rights demonstrators
February 26, 2014, 7:46 pm

A Kuwaiti rights activist says authorities have detained 15 people in recent days during protests by so-called “stateless” residents claiming that the state denies them citizenship.

Activist Hadeel Buqrais said on Wednesday that the demonstrators were held on suspicion of participation in illegal protests and inciting riots during demonstrations in Taima, a suburb north-west of the capital, Kuwait City. She says nine remain in custody.

Officials could not be reached for comment on the arrests.

Groups of protesters, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, have been holding rallies in Taima since last week. The right to protest in Kuwait is only extended to citizens.

The stateless residents, known locally as ‘bidoun’, or without, are descendants of desert nomads who claim to have been in the area for generations and demand to be recognised as citizens. The government has promised to address the grievances over their stateless status.

Kuwait has an estimated 100,000 stateless people, one of the largest number of bidouns in the region. They often complain about being barred from conducting every day activities due to a lack of identity documents, including marriage and travel. 
Kuwait celebrated its Liberation Day on Wednesday, the 23rd anniversary of the country’s liberation after its invasion by Saddam Hussain’s Iraq.


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