Police in Kenya fired teargas on and arrested dozens of high-profile human rights activists staging demonstrations that rocked the country early on Tuesday.
Hundreds of protesters across Kenya came out to advocate social justice and fundamental rights which they said were violated on a daily basis.
“We don’t need the police to teargas us so that we can shed our tears, the policies that the police follow make us cry every day when our innocent youth are arrested and killed. We are in pain and have been suffering for 30 years,” Silas Matata, one of the protesters, told Anadolu Agency in the capital Nairobi.
Matata was referring to three decades since July 7, 1990, when Kenya witnessed nationwide demonstrations dubbed Saba Saba — Swahili for seven seven — launching a movement for multiparty democracy and free elections, as well as other rights and services.
Protesters like Lilian Ndung’u argue that much of what people had been pushing for thirty years ago, such as the right to life and access to housing, water and education, remained a challenge.
“We are in 2020 and today is the 30th anniversary of Saba Saba. We are saying enough is enough, people are being killed by police over masks and sanitizers, our kids have no access to education, the injustices are too many to mention but we are done, we want justice.”
John Githongo, one of the organizers of the protests, decried what he called the normalization of corruption in Kenya: “In an extremely sophisticated and rapacious way, the fight against corruption has been politicized, the judiciary face intimidation, we’ve witnessed the castration of parliament so it’s unable to play its oversight role and represent Kenyans.”
Protesters have continued to clash with police, bringing traffic to a standstill on busy roads as businesses remaining closed, this comes a day after the country eased measures put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
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