Reason police banned 'Occupy Parliament' protests


• Police have cautioned of potential disruptions to traffic flow near Parliament on Tuesday, June 18, as part of measures to contain the anticipated protest.

Image: The-Star

On Tuesday, June 18, a confrontation is looming as police have announced their refusal to permit a planned protest against the Finance Bill 2024.

Organizers of the protest, named 'Occupy Parliament,' have asserted readiness for a peaceful march, claiming all necessary preparations have been completed.

Adamson Bungei, Nairobi Regional Police Commander, dismissed any notion of permitting protests in Nairobi, labeling them illegal.

Bungei clarified that no application for a gathering or picketing permit had been submitted as required. He declared the protest unauthorized and prohibited.

According to Bungei, they received a 'faulty' document dated from June of the previous year, which fails to meet the standards for protest permissions.

“The notice they left at Central is dated June 17, 2023. It is invalid. We cannot permit this demonstration,” Bungei stated firmly. “Kenyans should be free to conduct their affairs, and those with grievances should direct them through appropriate channels.”

He further disclosed that police forces have been mobilized to swiftly disperse any gatherings.

Meanwhile, activists led by Boniface Mwangi have detailed plans for the 'Occupy Parliament' protest against the Finance Bill 2024.

Police have cautioned of potential disruptions to traffic flow near Parliament on Tuesday, June 18, as part of measures to contain the anticipated protest.

Additional anti-riot teams have been readied for deployment starting from mid-day, according to police sources.

Authorities have instructed officers to manage the protest carefully from its outset.

A coordinated interagency effort has been coordinating plans for handling the 'Occupy Parliament' protest scheduled for the day the Bill is set to be tabled in the House.

Voting on the Bill is scheduled for Thursday, June 20.

In response to the organizers' notification of the protest plans, senior police commanders have convened separate meetings to strategize on next steps.

Meetings have been held at police headquarters and the Nairobi Area police command, focusing on concerns that protesters may impede Members of Parliament's access to the House, necessitating the deployment of anti-riot teams.

Mwangi has refuted allegations, affirming their intent for a peaceful protest to convey messages to lawmakers.

Anticipating police deployment to disperse the gathering, protest organizers have advised attendees to come prepared for potential escalation.

“Bring placards, handkerchiefs, and bottles of water,” the advisory reads.

Protesters commonly equip themselves with water bottles and handkerchiefs in anticipation of teargas deployment.

Organizers of the peaceful demonstration urge people to gather starting from noon.

“We will assemble to vigilantly observe as Members of Parliament convene for voting at 2:30 pm. IG Koome is expected to provide police protection, acknowledging Article 37 of the Constitution: the right to protest and picket.”

During the unveiling of the 2024-25 Budget estimates in Parliament, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u outlined several tax measures aimed at raising Sh2.92 trillion locally from a total budget of Sh3.92 trillion.

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