More than 56 human rights defenders were yesterday arrested in Nairobi for allegedly defying the Covid-19 guidelines on public gatherings.
The march dubbed #SabaSabaMarchForOurLives was meant to call for an end to increased cases of police brutality as well as the full implementation of the Constitution.
It also aimed at calling for speedy conclusion of investigations into cases of missing persons, a majority of whom the protesters said, disappeared in the hands of police.
The march that started in Mathare led to the arrest of Social Justice Centres Working Group Convener Wilfred Olal, Julie Wanjiru of Mathare Social Justice Centre and activist Edita Ochieng. They were booked in different police stations.
The protesters marched to the city centre, where they engaged police in running battles. The activists condemned police for refusing to approve the notice of the protests, lobbing tear gas canisters and arresting them.
Senior counsel John Khaminwa, activist George Kegoro and lawyer Florence Kanyua gathered at Kilimani Police Station seeking the protesters’ release.
They accused the government of curtailing the freedom to protest.
Amnesty International said: “The protesters are raising concerns over high levels of police brutality, rent, income loss and lack of protection from Covid-19. We call on the police to act in a judicious manner in accordance with Article 37 and the rules of legality, necessity and proportionality as dictated by the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority launched its first call centre and a toll free line, 1559, to be used by the public in lodging complaints against police.