Forty protesters were arrested on Thursday in Nairobi as they staged a demonstration over the high cost of living. The group, calling themselves the Movement for the Defence of Democracy (Power to the people) Nairobi chapter, was confronted by police at Railways Roundabout and outside National Archives after a brief chase and detained.
The group had not informed the police of their plans to hold the march, and police deemed it an illegal assembly. The Nairobi police boss stated that reasonable force was used to disperse the protesters, and 40 individuals were subsequently arrested.
The march was largely peaceful before the police intervened. The group is expected in court on charges of taking part in an unlawful assembly.
This event comes as Azimio la Umoja ramps up preparations for planned mass action over the high cost of living. Various grassroots leaders have been meeting to organize the countrywide protests set for next week.
Security teams have been planning how to manage the protests amid fears that they may turn chaotic. The organizers have so far informed security teams of the planned protests, as per the requirements. Various leaders of the coalition have pledged to participate in the protests that are seen as a test for the Kenya Kwanza government on their level of tolerance and adherence to the rule of law
. Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki stated that they are not opposed to any form of protests as long as they are peaceful and within the law.
The protests come in the wake of rising inflation and economic hardship, with many Kenyans feeling the pinch. The high cost of fuel and food has left many struggling to make ends meet, with some turning to loans to survive. The government has attempted to address the issue by reducing taxes on certain goods and providing subsidies for others, but this has yet to make a significant impact.