I heard about the protests through US Embassy Warden notices, but I didn't know who was doing the protesting or why. There's a lot of change happening in the Middle East.
.... and then... there was a spark....
2nd Day of Protests- Kuwaiti police use tear gas against protesters
KUWAIT CITY — Kuwaiti riot police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of stateless Arabs who demonstrated for the second day Saturday to demand basic rights and citizenship.
Police arrested dozens from around 300 protesters who had gathered in Sulaibiya, 25 kilometres (16 miles) southwest of Kuwait City, to press for their demands.
On Friday, at least five people were wounded and local media said as many as 100 protesters were arrested when around 1,000 stateless Arabs, also known as bidoons, clashed with police in Jahra, west of Kuwait City.
Like in Jahra, protesters in Sulaibiya carried Kuwaiti flags and pictures of the ruler and also demanded their right to work.
The bidoons, who are estimated at more than 100,000, claim they have the right to Kuwaiti citizenship, but the government says that ancestors of many of them came from neighbouring countries and they are not entitled to nationality.
Kuwait launched a crackdown on the bidoons in 2000, depriving them of basic rights including the right to health, education and jobs, in a bid to force them to reveal what the authorities say are their true identities.
Many bidoons have no right to a driver's licence, cannot get birth certificates for their babies or death certificates for the dead. They are also banned from getting their marriage contracts attested.
Due to stringent government restrictions, a majority of them are living in dire economic conditions in oil-rich Kuwait, where the average monthly salary of native citizens is more than $3,500 (2,575 euros).
Authorities said that following the crackdown, some 20,000 bidoons disclosed their original citizenship and were given residence permits like other foreigners.
Most bidoons claim to be Kuwaitis whose forefathers, who lived as Bedouins in the desert, failed to apply for citizenship when the state first introduced its nationality law in 1959.
Kuwaiti MPs have called on the government to quickly resolve the problem of bidoons and Kuwait's society for human rights called in a statement Saturday for the release of detainees.
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