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Protests erupt over government corruption and poor public services in Kuwait

HUNDREDS of people protested outside the Kuwaiti government headquarters last night as anger erupted over corruption and poor delivery of public services.

They took to the streets under the slogan: “That’s enough,” after former Kuwaiti parliamentarian Saleh al-Moulla put a call out on social media.

While the demonstration took place with the permission of Kuwaiti authorities, Mr Moulla said it was “a message from the people and an expression of the unhappiness of the people in the face of corruption.”

The permit for the protest, which Mr Moulla posted online, said it had been called “to express our discontent with the current situation, especially in the legislative and executive institutions that was not able to fight corruption.”

Demonstrators called on Parliament Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim to step down.

"Resign! Resign, Marzouq, people don’t want you!” they chanted.

But when Mr Moulla arrived at the protest, he asked those gathered to respect the call for a silent sit-in and not to single out individuals within the Kuwaiti government.

“Our presence aims to send a message that the people are upset and suffering,” he told the crowds. “The path to reform is long and today’s stand is a step to change our reality.”

The demonstration, which took place in Kuwait’s iconic al-Erada Square, was joined by current and former members of parliament. 

Large numbers of Bidoons, a social class in Kuwait without any nationality, were also present.

Lawyer and human rights activist Mohammed al-Houmaidi insisted that the movement was not led by any political organisation or party.

“This is led by the population themselves, who have come to flag up their problems with housing, health and education,” he said.

Similar protests have been seen in Lebanon and Iraq. In the latter, as many as 250 people have been killed in clashes with security forces.

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