Nairobi, Kenya – The Movement for the Defence of Democracy (Power to the people) Nairobi chapter staged a protest on Thursday in response to the high cost of living in the country.
However, the demonstration was met with resistance from police, leading to the arrest of 40 protesters.
The police argued that the protest was an illegal assembly, and the organizers had failed to inform them of their plans to hold the march.
The police said that reasonable force was used to disperse the protesters, and the group was arrested and detained outside the National Archives after a brief chase.
Witnesses reported that the march was largely peaceful before the police intervened.
Among the items recovered by the police were 75 jungle green shirts, 29 red berets labeled Movement for the Defence of Democracy, 97 small Kenyan flags, assorted trumpets, blue helmets, and packets of plastic whistles.
The group is expected to appear in court, facing charges of taking part in an unlawful assembly, contrary to section 78 (1) as read with section 79 of the penal code.
The protest comes as Azimio la Umoja, a coalition of grassroots leaders, is ramping up its preparations for planned mass action next week over the high cost of living.
While security teams have been planning for the protests, they are still waiting for directions from higher authorities on how to manage the situation.
Various leaders of the coalition have pledged to participate in the protests, which will be a test of the government’s level of tolerance and adherence to the rule of law.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said that the government is not opposed to peaceful protests as long as they remain within the boundaries of the law.
The situation in Nairobi remains tense, with protesters and the police standing firm in their respective positions.
As the country braces for the mass action, it is hoped that the protests will remain peaceful and that a resolution will be reached that benefits all parties involved.