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Sunday, April 21, 2024


    Kenyan police have banned anti-government demonstrations as the death toll increases.

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    Kenyan police declared three days of anti-government protests scheduled for this week illegal late Tuesday.

    Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, had planned protests from Wednesday to Friday.

    The announcement was delivered by Police Inspector General Japhet Koome, who cited the opposition’s refusal to notify the police about the planned gatherings, which rendered the protests illegal.

    “Contrary to legal requirements, no organizers/planners of the purported demonstrations have notified police of such gatherings,” Koome stated.

    “Lessons from recent similar demonstrations that left trails of property destruction, injuries, and deaths clearly indicate that such demonstrations are nothing more than a threat to national security,” he continued.

    The Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition Party, led by Odinga, called the rallies last Friday, citing worries about rising living costs and increased taxes on petroleum items.

    Odinga defended extending the protests to Thursday and Friday by citing widespread public demand and civic unhappiness.

    However, according to an official police tally, the protests have already taken over a dozen deaths, with allegations of violence and fights between demonstrators and security forces.

    In preparation for predicted anti-government protests, the Kenyan government has ordered the closing of all-day schools in Nairobi and Mombasa.

    Due to the protests, the Kenya Railways Corporation also announced the suspension of train services in Nairobi on Wednesday.

    Concerns over the safety of protestors and the rising death toll prompted the UN Human Rights Office to encourage Kenyan police to safeguard demonstrators and anti-riot police personnel to implement the law equitably and ensure the safety of all citizens.

    Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, voiced great worry about recent protest violence, noting that up to 23 people were killed and others were injured in recent rallies.

    The office emphasised the importance of a peaceful conclusion and encouraged communication between the administration and the opposition to address the situation.

    President William Ruto has declared zero tolerance for potential anti-government protests in reaction to the ongoing unrest.

    In a challenge to Odinga, he emphasised the importance of law and order, claiming that the protests were causing disturbances and harming the nation’s stability.

    The police’s suppression of the protests calls into doubt Kenya’s right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

    Human rights organisations and activists have criticised the decision, urging the government to respect citizens’ constitutional rights and participate in constructive conversation to address the demonstrators’ concerns.

    Tensions remain high as the country anticipates the anticipated protests on Wednesday.

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