Kenyan police clashed with opposition protesters on Monday, May 17, 2016, who were calling for the dismissal of the country’s electoral body Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for being biased ahead of the 2017 election.
After two previous protests last month which were dispersed by riot police with tear gas and water cannons, Monday’s protest got bloody as the police resorted to beating the protesters with batons after they fired tear gas into the crowd.
Images from the scene flooded social media and news websites showing stone-carrying protesters running for cover as police chase after them with batons and anti-riot weapons.
Leader of the demonstrating opposition party Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord), Raila Odinga, had his vehicle damaged and he alleged that the police shot live bullets to disperse the crowd.
But Nairobi County Police Commander, Japhet Koome, said no live bullets were used during the clashes, as reported by Kenya’s Daily Nation.
POLICE DENY shooting at Raila Odinga vehicle during Cord demonstrations against IEBC today. pic.twitter.com/rNVZhGa3ty— NationBreakingNews (@NationBreaking) May 16, 2016
The daily also quotes the chairman of the country’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Francis Kaparo, as saying the demonstrations against the IEBC is “permissible according to the constitution as long as they are peaceful and non-destructive.“
Kenyans observing online, who termed the action by the riot police as barbaric, have started the trending hashtag, #StopPoliceBrutality, calling for a halt in the violence.
The government should be very worried, the temperature in this country is serious #StopPoliceBrutality— toto (@glecious) May 17, 2016
#StopPoliceBrutality..Which section of constitution states that a policeman should brutally beat a citizen— PAT (@Patrickkituku1) May 17, 2016
ALL THE DIPLOMATIC COMMUNITY have said nothing yet on #StopPoliceBrutality. We are keenly watching these Jubilee apologists.— Samfred Major (@sOwenga) May 17, 2016
KE police should channel all their energy to forces AlShabaab not helpless unarmed civilians.Talk of soft targets! #StopPoliceBrutality— Vincent Gekonge (@vincent_gekonge) May 17, 2016
While some on Twitter support the protests, others are against it outrightly, yet call for an end to police violence.
Just because I'm against police brutality doesn't mean I'm anti-police. We want order, but stop using excessive force. #StopPoliceBrutality— MarcusRashford Uncle (@Kiamaish) May 17, 2016
I support #StopPoliceBrutality but also condemn those demonstrations. Cord principals using poor Kenyans,why dont they use their children?— JN SHINE (@jn_shine) May 17, 2016
Please dont get used by politicians,their children are not in Kenya/streets protesting,you will end up this way #StopPoliceBrutality— L@zZoMiNt™ (@lazzomint) May 17, 2016
Police did they job right! You don turn a city into a world war zone all in the Name of democracy. #StopPoliceBrutality— QUEEN (@QBaffins) May 17, 2016
Stone throwers threw stones and looted,Did they expect hugs and kisses?SMH.#stoppolicebrutality— Count Olaf (@Olaf_Ke) May 17, 2016
As we shout #StopPoliceBrutality same goes to controlling the rowdy youths in those demos.— The Optimist (@OnderiOnkoba) May 17, 2016
It doesn't matter which side you are on but that kind of police brutality is appalling to say the least! #StopPoliceBrutality— Muriuki Maina (@dmuriuki40) May 17, 2016
About 22 million Kenyans are expected to vote in the country’s presidential election on August 8, 2017.