[The following is a Bedoon Rights report on the violent break-up of a Bedoon protest on 1 May 2012 in Freedom Square and the consequent arrest of fourteen protesters, including one journalist.]
After two weeks of waiting, around two hundred Bedoon protesters gathered in the Taima area to protest for their right to citizenship and against the discriminatory policies and false promises of the Central Agency. The protest started in Najashi Street after the afternoon prayer in Al-Shaabi mosque, which was surrounded by riot police. When the protesters left the mosque to march in “Freedom Square”, activist Abdulhakim Al-Fadhli was directly arrested and taken by state security police. His place is still unknown to this moment. This is the fourth time Al-Fadhli gets arrested and Tuesday morning he was in a court hearing as the police filed a fabricated case against him and other Bedoon who protested two months ago.
As for the other thirteen protesters, they were taken to the department of criminal investigation. So far, eight names out of thirteen are confirmed:
1- Yousef Muhsin Al-Harbi (Kuwaiti).
2- Hussain Al-Saidawi.
3- Abdulhadi Abdullah.
4- Nasser Al-Shammari (Kuwaiti).
5- Mohammed Salem – Al-Rai newspaper Journalist/ Bedoon.
6- Fahad Ahmed Hussain Rashed.
7- Rakan Nawaf.
8- Kareem Al-Shammari
To disperse the protest, riot police used smoke bombs and hot water and according to a Reuters, riot police used batons and armored trucks as well. Several activists reported that a twelve-year-old boy was also arrested and taken to Jahraa police station but was released within two hours. MP Adel Al-Damkhi, head of Bedoon parliamentary committee, was informed of the names of the detainees and has not yet made any statement. However, MP Saleh Ashoor criticized the violence and arrests against Bedoon while MP Abdulhamid Dashti, member of the Bedoon parliamentary committee, said it was wrong to protest.
Lawyer Mohammed Al-Hmaidi, manager of Kuwait Human Rights Association, attended the protest and talked about the violence against protesters through his twitter account. The association itself reported that its president Khaled Al-Hmaidi is in the criminal investigation department alongside lawyer Mohammed Al-Hmaidi and Hussain Al-Otaibi as they work on releasing detainees and appointing lawyers to defend them. The vice president of the association, Fayez Al-Sultani, reported that he was briefly taken and beaten by riot police although he had clarified to them that he was there to monitor the protest. He was shortly released. Other monitors, Taher Al-Baghli, Maryam Shah, and Huda Al-Dikheel, were taken to a checkpoint and asked to leave the protest after their cell phones were taken and pictures of the protests were deleted.