The 14th of May will probably be remembered as the day that a pig was slaughtered in front of the Parliament building in Kenya. Civil society activists – led by Boniface Mwangi – held a demonstration dubbed OCCUPY PARLIAMENT, in protestation of Members of Parliament. In what is deemed a greedy act, Parliamentarians are demanding an unreasonable, unconstitutional amount as perks for holding office. Kenyan MPs are among the highest paid in the world.
The blood spilled as the pig was let loose and smeared a few of them. One police was infuriated to have gotten blood spattered all over his uniform. He was the one in charge of the operation and this must have dented his figure of authority, as most of his juniors had unstained pants and polished boots.
The police lost their nerve after 2 hours of militant chants, activist songs and civil disobedience slogans like “the police are same ol’ same old since colonization,” “Thieves and MPigs,” “We won’t stop!” As all this was happening, volunteer working groups like Occupy Avante Garde and Inuka Trust blockaded traffic for motorists to sign a petition.
The protest reached a frenzy when the famous twin canon trucks named as “jeha” and “nam” (a split swahili word meaning ‘limbo’) pulled closer to the mob of irate activists. The activists, rather than cowering, called on the trucks to bring it on: chanting “we want more water.” When the water canons sprayed, some brave protesters stood firm with arms interlocked in solidarity. They could have maintained their position had it not been for the foot soldiers who were armed with clubs and tear gas canisters; soldiers descended on the activists in a most ferocious manner. The police, having dispersed the outer core of protesters with bullets shot in the air, swooped in and arrested the remaining protesters who were subdued by smoke and baton battery. The organiser, Boniface Mwangi, was among the arrested. They were taken to Nairobi Police Headquarters, which is opposite the Parliament building. They spent the night and will be arraigned in court today.
Occupy Parliament got media accolades as it aired on all television channels. It also set the agenda for more action to be taken; an example is a proposal to reduce the number of Parliamentarians. The Occupy action was the talk of a local FM station all morning. The social media will be full of images and comments throughout today and will be trending.