November 6, 2012 / 1:07 PM / in 5 years

Kuwait will be tough on security threats, emir says after demonstration

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait’s ruler said on Tuesday there would be no leniency towards threats to “the security of the homeland”, two days after police broke up an unauthorised protest against new voting rules.

Tear gas fills the air to disperse protesters during an impromptu protest in Sabah al Salem districts November 4, 2012. REUTERS/Stephanie Mcgehee

OPEC member Kuwait allows more dissent than some of its fellow Gulf states but in recent weeks protests have spread to the streets outside designated rally areas, resulting in clashes between demonstrators and police.

“I would like to emphasize that there will be no leniency towards events that would prejudice the security of the homeland and the safety of citizens,” Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said, according to a statement published by state news agency KUNA.

He told security chiefs at a meeting at his palace there would not be “any leniency in the application of the law”.

“Today we are required to choose between the rule of law and the constitution and stick to it, to the road of safety, or to pursue chaos and infringe on the powers of the responsible constitutional authorities,” he said.

Opposition figures say amendments to the election law passed by decree last month are an attempt to give pro-government candidates an advantage in parliamentary polls on December 1. The emir has said the changes aim to preserve national unity.

Reporting by Sylvia Westall; editing by Andrew Roche

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