Kuwait activist: Police disperse 'stateless' rally

AP News
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Posted: Jan 13, 2012 8:23 AM
Kuwait activist: Police disperse 'stateless' rally

A Kuwaiti human rights activist says riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters who claim the Gulf nation is depriving them of citizenship and rights.

Taher al-Baghli from the Kuwait Society for Human Rights says police made arrests Friday among the protesters, mostly descendants of desert nomads who are considered stateless by Kuwait.

They seek access to the oil-rich nation's extensive benefits, like free health care and state jobs.

Kuwait's Interior Ministry said Thursday that it would not tolerate further demonstrations. Police set up barricades around a square in Jahra, west of Kuwait City, where the protesters have gathered for the past few Fridays.

Kuwait is scheduled to hold parliament elections Feb. 2. The stateless residents can't vote.