NAIROBI, Kenya, May 20 – Seventeen protestors who staged the ‘Occupy Parliament’ demonstration using 31 live pigs last Tuesday have been charged with cruelty to animals.
The activists, among them photographer Boniface Mwangi, however declined to take a plea and were released on a cash bail of Sh20,000 each or Sh10,000 surety bail.
The demonstrators were charged with three counts of breach of peace, rioting and cruelty to animals but maintained that the charges were unconstitutional.
The 17, who appeared before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Kiarie Waweru Kiarie, however demanded that their case be referred to the High Court for constitutional interpretation.
They at the same time refused to tell the court who brought the animals to Parliament, who poured blood on the pavement and whether the blood was human or animal.
The protestors last Tuesday unleashed the pigs outside Parliament, demonstrating against what they termed as greed among Members of Parliament for demanding a pay hike on their Sh532,000 gross monthly pay.
Last week, Mwangi told Capital FM News that Kenyans should focus on what the MPs were doing maintaining that the demonstrators were within the protesters’ constitutional rights.
“They (animal rights activists) are accusing us of mistreating the pigs but what about the manner in which the country is being treated by the M-pigs? Kenyans should focus more on the M-pigs,” he retorted.
“Let’s not get swallowed by the pigs and forget the key message- Members of Parliament don’t deserve more money. Kenyans are very comfortable but I wish all the noise on Facebook and Twitter went offline and came to the streets,” he argued.
The court is expected to make its decision on the charges this Thursday.