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Kuwait emir wants no leniency with violence, says MP

Emir says no tolerance against Kuwaitis who broke into the parliament calling for the prime minister's resignation, on graft allegations

Reuters , Thursday 17 Nov 2011
Kuwaiti Parliament
Kuwaiti member of parliament Waleed Al Tabtabaie sits in the National Assembly after he and others stormed the parliament building in Kuwait City November 16, 2011. (Photo:Reuters)
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Kuwait's emir ordered no tolerance be shown for any violation of state institutions, a lawmaker said on Thursday, a day after protesters stormed parliament to press for the resignation of the prime minister.

Footage showed scores of people, including some opposition members of parliament, smash down the gate of the parliament building late on Wednesday and storm the assembly.

Kuwait has largely escaped the so-called Arab spring unrest that ended in the overthrow of the presidents of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, but witnesses said it was the most serious protest to rock the Gulf Arab country so far.

The state's KUNA news agency said six members of the security forces were hurt in the incident.

The Gulf Arab state has endured a long political stalemate and opposition has built up against Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah, an influential member of the ruling family.

Parliament members said Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah chaired a special cabinet session on Thursday.

"The emir stressed respect for the law, and urged no leniency with any infringement on national institutions," one member of parliament, who declined to be named told Reuters.

Media and witnesses said the demonstrators moved against parliament after special police forces beat some of them as they were holding a weekly vigil near the assembly.

They said the protesters who forced their way into the debating chamber included some opposition lawmakers who have been among hundreds of protesting outside parliament every week to demanding the removal of Sheikh Nasser, who they accuse of corruption.

"The people want to bring down the head (of government)," the crowds chanted as the protesters who entered parliament re-emerged to join those massed outside.

In May, two lawmakers attempted to question Sheikh Nasser over alleged misuse of public funds, a charge he denies. The request came days after he had unveiled his seventh cabinet.

The previous cabinet quit in March to avoid parliamentary questioning of three ministers.

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