Editor's Review

Concerns have been raised over the conduct of police officers after they harassed and arrested both journalists and peaceful protesters.  

Questions and concerns have been raised over the conduct of police officers after they harassed and arrested both journalists and peaceful protesters.   

In the demos dubbed 'Occupy Parliament' on Tuesday, June 18, police were captured manhandling and arresting peaceful protestors despite notification of the demos by activist Boniface Mwangi. 

According to Article 37 of the constitution, "Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities." 

Despite peaceful protests being enshrined in the constitution, police arrested and harassed journalists who are accredited by the Media Council of Kenya. 

Nairobi Regional Police Commander Adamson Bungei announced that the protests in Nairobi CBD would not be allowed. 

Protestors who were peaceful and donned in black were not spared. A section of Kenyans was also arrested for wearing black T-shirts. 

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) threatened to take legal action against Mr. Bungei after declaring the protests illegal. 

“We would like to clarify that Article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya provides for the right to assembly and demonstrate and it has no provision for notice to be given to you nor can you limit anyone's right outside what is provided for under Article 24 of the Constitution.

“Article 19(3) further guarantees these rights and fundamental freedoms. Your actions would therefore be construed to amount to suspension of Articles 19 and 37 of the Constitution, which actions are unconstitutional,” part of the statement by LSK read. 

A group of Kenyans who had started gathering on Nairobi CBD was quickly dispersed by the police officers who lobbed teargas canisters. 

Heavy police presence outside parliament.

In one of the videos, the police were seen arguing with a middle-aged woman before arresting her and bundling her into a waiting police Landcruiser that later drove away.

"Why are you arresting me? I haven't done anything," the woman shouted.

The protests were held to compel Members of Parliament to shoot down the Finance Bill 2024, which was tabled in Parliament later on Tuesday. 

However, before the tabling of the Finance Bill 2024 in parliament, Kenya Kwanza held a PG and removed some of the contentious clauses, especially the 2.5% motor vehicle circulation tax and 16% VAT on bread. 

"Levies on the Housing Fund and Social Health Insurance will become income tax deductible. This means the levies will not attract income tax, putting much more money in the pockets of employees," Kimani Kuria, the Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Finance and Planning. 

Police arresting a woman at Nairobi CBD. Photo: Screengrab

The committee retreated on June 13 to prepare a report after the conclusion of public participation in the Finance Bill 2024.