Thousands of citizens thronged the Arabian Gulf Road yesterday to mark the 47th National Day and 17th Liberation Day. Children dressed in colors of the national flag and young men and women in cars waving Kuwaiti flags and portraits of HH Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and other Kuwaiti heroes filled the seaside avenue to celebrate the country's most important national events.
After the state's liberation from Saddam Hussein's troops after seven months of occupation on February 26, 1991, the Gulf Road celebrations have become an annual national event where crowds turn up in large numbers in an exhibition of unity and solidarity. All roads leading to the street, except the main entrances, were blocked by police in an attempt to reduce traffic bottlenecks as vehicles jammed the 25-km road.
The celebrations began soon after the liberation when Kuwaitis flooded the Gulf road to express relief and happiness that the dark days of the Iraqi occupation were over. A US-led international coalition of more than 600,000 troops drove the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait after launching the Operation Desert Storm on January 17, 1991. They completed their mission on the morning of February 26, one day after the National Day. Iraqi forced invaded the country on August 2, 1990 and drove many Kuwaitis out of thecountry. Hundreds were killed during the seven-month occupation.
Kuwait took its independence from British mandate on June 19, 1960 but late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah decided to mark the event on February 25 ech year because the weather in June is too hot. The country remained under British mandate for more than 60 years, although it enjoyed a considerable degree of independence during those years.