Hundreds of people came out on the streets in Kenyan capital Nairobi on June 8, Monday, to protest against police brutality and the killing of innocent people in the country. Protesters marched across the slums of the city where most of the killings have taken place and paid homage to the victims.
The protesters also extended solidarity to the Black Lives Matters movement against police violence and racism in the US, which was triggered by the killing of a 46-years-old African American man, George Floyd, on May 25 in Minneapolis in the US.
Protesters in Nairobi on Monday carried banners and raised slogans saying “Stop Police Brutality”, “Life is Priceless”, “Never Again”, and “Stop Killer Cops”. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Collins Odhiambo, one of the organizers of the protest, said, “at every location where someone was gunned down, we kneel and honor them, then we proceed with the march. We have been to all locations in Mathare slums where people were killed not by coronavirus, but by police who claim they want to protect us from the pandemic.”
According to various reports, 21 people have been killed due police brutality in Kenya since 27 March, when the night time curfew to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was first imposed. Though police brutality in Kenya is not new, the police has been accused of using excessive force and violence in the name of imposing the lockdown, particularly against those living in the slums of Nairobi. As on June 9, Kenya has reported more than 2,860 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 85 deaths.
MissingVoicesKE, a group of organizations working against police brutality and forceful disappearance in Kenya, said on its Twitter handle on Tuesday that it has recorded more than 61 incidents of police killing and enforced disappearances so far in 2020, leading to 89 deaths and 5 disappearances.
In 151 days, Missing Voices has documented 61 incidents of police killing and enforced disappearances, which have left 89 victims dead and 5 missing.
— MissingVoicesKE (@MissingVoicesKE) June 9, 2020
Kenya’s Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) stated that it has received 87 complaints against police brutality since March 27. The complaints include, killing, shooting, robbery, assaults and sexual assaults, among others.
Last week, the IPOA announced that six police officers would be arrested and persecuted for some of these killings and the use of excessive force. Kenya’s chief prosecutor’s office also issued a statement claiming to be working on 171 cases of police violence in the country, 81 of them already in the trial stage.