Monday, May 29, 2006

Orange in Kuwait

Middle East Online reports on the growing pro-democracy movement in Kuwait:
"'We are a group of young people, from school, university and young graduates,' one of their leaders, 29-year-old Khaled al-Fadalah, said as dozens of activists gathered outside the election registration centre.

'Our beginning was spontaneous,' the US-educated Fadalah said. 'We were discussing the political crisis in Kuwait at a restaurant. We said we should act. We decided to hold a protest at the council of ministers.'

The orange protest began with the sending of SMS text messages. Then, through Internet bloggers and mobile phone calls, they set a date and a time.

'Between 400 and 500 people gathered. It was very successful,' said Fadalah of the peaceful rally that lasted about three hours."

This movement is stronger than the one in Egypt in that they can act in support of a reformist block in Kuwait's active Parliament. Both groups share the cause of reducing the number of Kuwait's electoral districts to make vote-buying more difficult:
"Buoyed by their initial success, the orange activists then staged an overnight vigil outside parliament ahead of the crucial May 15 debate. A number of pro-reform MPs visited them at what later came to be known as the 'Square of Will'.

"About 1,000 members of the orange movement and others disrupted the parliament session when the government backed a motion to send the constitutional court its own bill that would trim the number of constituencies to 10.

"They applauded as 29 opposition MPs walked out of the session, and chanted slogans like 'we want it five' and 'down with the government' - forcing ministers and pro-government MPs to leave the chamber before completing the vote.

"Two days later, the protesters held a large public rally at the same spot, followed on May 19 by another at which opposition MPs pledged to back a request to question Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah."

Read the rest to find out what they're up to.

(Crossposted to American Footprints.)


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