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Protesters' tents are torn down Published: 26th February 2008

MORE than 1,000 families from Nuwaidrat and neighbouring villages continued protesting over the allocation of government homes for the fifth day yesterday.

They carried on despite Central Municipality removing their tents from the protest site on Sunday evening.

Municipal officials said they had not been shown any kind of proof that the families were granted a licence from the Interior Ministry to erect the tents, which the protesters were using during the day.

However, residents say that the ministry granted them a licence legalising their protest and also allowing them to set up the tents.

The families are protesting outside a BD21 million vacant housing project in Nuwaidrat until it is "justly" allocated.

They are demanding that the new government housing project be allocated to residents of Nuwaidrat, Ma'ameer, Eker and Sanad.

They claim that it has been promised to a group of MPs for people in their constituencies, which they say lie outside their four villages.

This allegedly followed a call for a share in the project by MPs Abdulatif Al Shaikh, Salah Ali, Jassim Al Saeedi and Abdulhalim Murad.

The families claim that they were promised that 50 per cent of the project would be allocated to Nuwaidrat residents and the remainder to the other three villages.

The families recently learnt that only half of the project would go to the four villages, while the other half would be allocated to other constituencies.

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Housing Civil Committee representative Abdulkhaliq Ebrahim Qambar said that the municipality had asked them on Saturday to remove the tents, but they did not.

"They accused us of not having an official licence from the Interior Ministry and on Sunday evening they came and removed them," he said.

"All of the families applied for government housing 17 years ago and when we are close to getting them, we find obstacles in our way."

"We do not want to make any problems, we are only demanding what is rightfully ours."

Central Municipality director-general Yousif Al Ghatam said officials removed the tents because they were not shown any kind of proof that erecting the tents was licenced.

"We asked them two days ago to show us the licence, but they never gave us anything," he said.

Mr Al Ghatam said that they had no problem with tents as long as they were shown a licence.

The families have sent a petition disapproving the new move to the Royal Court.

The Housing Ministry and Mr Al Shaikh, Mr Ali, Mr Al Saeedi and Mr Murad were not available for a comment yesterday.

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