Hundreds of people were forced to scamper for safety during a mass action rally organized by the Azimio la Umoja movement, led by Raila Odinga, in Kiambu on Friday, 17th March 2023.
The rally had been organized to drum up support for the movement's planned mass action set to take place on Monday, 20th in Nairobi.
According to eyewitnesses, the chaos started when police officers who were stationed near the rally site fired teargas canisters to disperse the crowd. The teargas caused panic among the attendees, who started running in different directions to avoid inhaling the noxious fumes.
The situation quickly deteriorated, with some people getting injured as they were trampled upon in the stampede. Others were caught up in the melee and sustained injuries from projectiles that were being hurled around.
The incident has sparked widespread condemnation from civil society organizations, political leaders, and the general public. Many have called for an independent investigation into the matter to establish who gave the orders for the police to use force against the rally-goers.
This is not the first time that the Azimio la Umoja movement has faced resistance from the authorities. Azimio has been calling for a national dialogue to address the country's deep-seated political and social divisions.
The incident in Kiambu is a stark reminder of the challenges facing Kenya's democracy and the need for all stakeholders to respect the rule of law and the fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens.
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