Oil-rich Kuwait slipped deeper into political crisis after hundreds of protesters broke into the parliament late Wednesday night to demand the resignation of the country's embattled prime minister.
Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Thursday chaired an emergency cabinet meeting and ordered security forces to take all necessary measures to main security and stability in the Gulf Arab emirate.
A scheduled parliament session on Thursday was called off as the protesters damaged some facilities in the main hall of the parliament compound, the official KUNA news agency reported.
Peaceful demonstrations against the parliament turned violent after the police used batons to disperse the protesters marching toward the residence of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al- Ahmad Al-Sabah.
Hundreds of demonstrators then muscled into the parliament compound, with dozens of whom sneaking into the Abdullah Al-Salem hall where regular sessions were resumed on Oct. 25.
The interior ministry said five members of the security forces were injured as protesters led by several opposition lawmakers forced their way into the parliament located beside the country's bustling Gulf Road.
Oil-rich Kuwait, whose citizens are granted cradle-to-grave welfare, managed to stave off impacts of the unrest that led to the downfall of the leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, but lingering political rifts between the government and parliament have delayed major economic reforms.
Since February, there are rallies every week staged by opposition groups who accuse the prime minister of failing to resolve the standstill in the country's development and demand his resignation.
Opposition lawmakers said Thursday they would give up the campaign to ouster Sheikh Nasser, a senior member of the Al-Sabah family, which has ruled Kuwait for more than 250 years.
Kuwait houses the Gulf Arab region's most outspoken parliament. Lawmakers were bestowed the right to question any member of the cabinet over alleged irregularity or irresponsibility.
Sheikh Nasser, 71, led his seventh cabinet to be sworn in on May 8 after the previous team resigned in late March to avoid three ministers from the ruling family being grilled in the parliament.
However, the opposition said they were not satisfied with the new cabinet lineup and exerted pressure on Sheikh Nasser to quit through grilling motions and public rallies.