Kuwait police fire tear gas to disperse protesters

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait riot police on Sunday fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of opposition protesters who were demanding the release of a detained opposition leader.

Witnesses said that the riot police armed in armoured vehicles fired tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters as soon as they marched toward a courts complex in the capital Kuwait City, forcing them to flee. Police also chased them into narrow streets of Kuwait City markets to ensure they do not reach the courts complex, where opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak is scheduled to face trial today.

The protesters, a number of whom were treated for inhaling gas, had earlier rejected appeals by police officers not to march. It was the fifth night of violence in Kuwait sparked by the arrest of Barrak, a former MP, on charges of insulting the judiciary. Earlier in the day, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah discussed the violence with his crown prince and prime minister. "The prime minister briefed the emir and the crown prince of the events that violate the constitution and the law," said an official statement cited by the state news agency KUNA.

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