NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 19 – Hundreds of activists were on Wednesday teargassed by police in Nairobi, while protesting against atrocities in Sudan following the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir.
The group, that was also joined by Sudanese nationals, first assembled at Freedom Corner, from where they planned to march to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Parliament and the President’s office at Harambee House but police blocked them.
The defiant protesters however, declined to disperse and instead started singing Kenya’s national anthem as others chanted against the continued military rule in Sudan.
At least two of the activists have been arrested.
Led by the Kenya Human Rights Commission Executive Director George Kegoro, the activists said they are concerned by the continued silence by African Heads of State, on a matter that threatens the region’s peace and security.
“We are extremely concerned about the silence by African leaders because what is happening in Sudan has a huge direct implication for the region. If Sudan unhinges the way it is threatening to, there will be a huge refugee crisis that affects the entire region,” Keogoro told journalists before police dispersed them. “South South already has problems and the fact that Sudan was stable it enabled some level of stability in South Sudan. Now if we have South Sudan unstable, and Sudan becomes unstable, we are going to have a movement of people who feel insecure coming down to the borders of Kenya and Uganda.”
According to Kegoro, police had been notified of the march and even granted the protesters a permit.
Central Officer Commanding Station Simon Kerich however, restricted the gathering by the protesters to Uhuru Park.
The activists were protesting the recent killing of at least 100 civilians by the Sudanese security forces early this month when the military cracked down on a sit-in by pro-democracy protesters, outside army headquarters in the Capital Khartoum.
Protesters in Sudan have been agitating for an expeditious takeover of a civilian rule from a Transitional Military Council established following the removal from power of President Omar al-Bashir on April 11, after an autocratic rule that lasted for three decades.