By Ben Garcia
KUWAIT: Six Egyptian security personnel who staged a “lightning” protest and triggered a riot in block 1 in Farwaniya on Wednesday were arrested and will be deported. Kuwait Times was able to talk to their colleagues heading to the amnesty processing site yesterday with their luggage. “We are all going home,” said Ahmed, one of more than 500 Egyptians who had protested. Some were already at the amnesty processing site, while others were busy packing their belongings at their accommodation.
“They all went to the amnesty site – all Egyptians here are returning to Egypt,” Hussein, a Bangladeshi security guard, told Kuwait Times. Hussein, who works for the same company, said the fight ensued when the guards demanded their salaries from a mandoub who visited their accommodation on Wednesday. “The representative said we have to wait for the salary, but the Egyptians got angry. They told the mandoub to call our bosses, since they have not been eating for some time since they have not received their salaries for months. They told the mandoub that they are ready to be deported, but will not leave Kuwait unless they get their unpaid salaries for two or three months,” Hussein said.
According to Hussein, they kept shouting and demanding their dues, and a few minutes later, the police came and they negotiated about their unpaid salaries. “Good thing for them, they already got what they want, but for us Bangladeshis and Nepalis, we were promised our two months of unpaid salary today, but until now, no representative of the company has showed up. We don’t know whether we will get our wages. This is really unfair. We kept quiet, and now they are only giving salaries to Egyptians and not to us,” he said. Hussein said apart from around 500 Egyptians, the company also employs around 100 Bangladeshi and 100 Nepali security guards.
Danesh, a Nepali security guard, noted the trouble with the company is not only about unpaid salaries. “We have been working in Kuwait for months without visas. Many of us here have no iqmas – I have been working with them for 10 months without a visa; my friend for six months, and many others for seven months without a visa. Some Egyptians have worked with the company without iqamas for years, so we are really fed up. I hope they give us our salaries and fix our visa issues once and for all,” he said. “It is dangerous to roam around without a visa, so I can only go to the baqala nearby. I cannot go anywhere else for my safety,” Danesh added.
A video footage of the commotion has gone viral on social media. On Wednesday, the interior ministry said in a press statement that it arrested six expats who caused riots and will take legal measures against them and deport them from the country. The ministry said it received a complaint from a representative of a private company stating that a group of workers gathered and tried to assault him while delivering their salaries.
It added that a rescue patrol immediately moved to the location of the incident and upon its arrival, one of the company’s workers assaulted the police car. The patrol commander fired a precautionary shot in the air to disperse the gathering. The ministry stressed that an investigation has been carried out and the rest of the workers involved were being arrested and referred to the authorities.