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LSK calls on IPOA to probe deaths, injuries during anti-government protests

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) wants the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) to investigate the deaths and injuries during the anti-government demonstrations on Wednesday July 12.

LSK President Eric Theuri, in a statement, expressed concern over the use of violence during the protests seeking further probe into the matter.

“The policing of protests must seek to facilitate peaceful assembly and any use of force must be guided by the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and professionalism to avert heightening tension and provoke violence from the protestants. It was evident on Wednesday, 12 July 2023, that there were instances of excessive use of force, unlawful arrests, threats increased in number. intensity, and brutality, with some of the cases resulting in a fatality, serious injuries, and damage to property,” he said.

He called on the government and the opposition to consider dialogue in resolving social economic and political grievances.

“We appeal for calm and call for open national dialogue to address social economic and political grievances, with the aim of identifying lasting solutions in the interest of all Kenyans. These protests highlight deep-rooted systemic issues that continue to persist in our country. It is a wake-up call for all of us to come together and address these pressing concerns. We must understand that promoting change and achieving real progress is not an easy task. However, it is one that must be undertaken if we are to move forward as a nation. By engaging in national dialogue, we can identify concrete steps and systemic reforms necessary to bring about lasting change,” he urged.

In addition, Theuri noted the need for peaceful protests to prevail without vandalism, violence or looting.

“…it is crucial to note that the right to protest peacefully does not permit Individuals the authority to engage in violent or destructive behaviour. Violence, vandalism. looting, or any form of aggression undermines the purpose and legitimacy of peaceful. protests. These actions, divert attention from the message and leads to unnecessary disruption of public order thereby diminishing the overall essence, impact and credibility of the protest. We urge members of the public to maintain peace during protests and note that the right to demonstrate is protected in law when it is peaceful and unarmed,” he added.

Opposition party Azimio la Umoja One Kenya plans to hold demonstrations on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday over the high cost of living and increased taxes.

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