By Andrew Wasike
Citizens marched the streets of the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday to protest a nationwide media blackout which has entered its fifth day.
The crowd, which comprised of journalists and activists, was protesting a government ban on three top television stations for airing a mock swearing-in ceremony of opposition leader Raila Odinga last week.
The ban on KTN, NTV, and Citizen news channels continues despite a court order on Thursday suspending the shutdown.
“The courts have already called on the government to lift the ban but the government is breaking the law. We rely on the media to know what is happening in our country," Mary Mwebia, a protester, told Anadolu Agency.
Police threw tear gas shells to disperse the protesters.
Some protesters who had marched to the Interior Ministry office to submit a petition dispersed following police action.
Juma Otieno, a protester, criticized the police for using violence against “peaceful” demonstrators. “It is our right to protest. We are here for the sake of free media. The government also needs to free our opposition leaders like Gen. Miguna Miguna unless they have killed him.”
The government on Tuesday labeled Kenya’s opposition National Resistance Movement (NRM) an organized criminal group, hours after Odinga’s mock inauguration.
Last October, Odinga formed the NRM from his National Super Alliance (NASA) political movement to pressure President Uhuru Kenyatta to step aside and call for snap elections.