Charging the government with incompetence and lack of democracy, Kuwait's opposition parties announced Friday they will hold their first public rally since the Persian Gulf war on Tuesday. "If we don't do it now, we will be accused of not doing anything to face the government," said Mubarak Adwani, a leader of the main opposition party, the Democratic Forum.
"The opposition has decided to go public to speak out and mobilize the people," he said.
Kuwait is more liberal than its Islamic fundamentalist neighbor and fellow U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia. Yet Kuwait, where the Sabah family rules in a constitutional monarchy, suspended its parliament in 1986 and cracked down on a swelling pro-democracy movement shortly before Iraq invaded the emirate last August.
Since U.S.-led forces liberated Kuwait in February, Washington has been putting pressure on the tiny Middle East state to restore democracy.
The rally by the seven opposition parties Tuesday at the Fatima mosque in Kuwait City will "express dissatisfaction with the way the government is running the country," said opposition leader Abdallah Nibari, who announced plans for the rally.
It is to be at a mosque, since political meetings of more than 20 people are banned in Kuwait.
The opposition has as a result resumed its habit of holding social gatherings, known as diwaniyas.