Kenya: No rally on Thursday
I spoke with Michelle this morning and she informed me of what happened in Kenya earlier today. The million man march that Raila (opposition leader) had called for was not successful in convening at Uhuru park. The police stood their ground in surrounding the venue and allowed noone in. Thousands of people were kept in Kibera by military police blocking the routes out of the slum. Despite the supposed "shoot to kill" order, the military police only shot into the air above the protesters and used water cannons to disperse the crowds. They played a game of cat and mouse all day trying to subdue the crowds until finally at 4pm the police left Kibera. Some groups within Kibera responded with more violence, mostly burning homes, shops, and churches. Michelle said the news is only reporting one death today from the police/rioters conflict.
Slumdwellers from Kibera were held back, but those from a neighboring slum, Kwangaware poured into the streets towards town causing much damage. Several businesses along Ngong Road where our apartments are were torched and destroyed. The rioters were not able to get in the gate where our apartments are located, thanks to an electrical fence surrounding the area.
Amidst all the violence, I suppose it could have been a lot worse today if the rally had happened, although many Kenyans think otherwise. The popular opinion is that if the rally is allowed, the violence will diminish. The protesting people are not able to see anything happening for change and they are desperate. They do not feel heard and that seems to be the cry behind the rally. Within the crowds people chanted "put down the stones" to other protesters. The cry for peace is deafening.
Both political sides are still standing their ground and the word is that Raila has called for another go at the rally tomorrow (Friday). Political figures from all over Africa and the world are now conversing with the leaders of Kenya in hopes of somehow restoring order and peace in the land.
There are videos and stories all over the web if you're interested in learning more. This video I found this morning was one of the most recent ones put online:
Thank you for continuing in prayer covering Kenya. We stand strong with our brothers and sisters trusting that our God is Mighty to save!
Friday, January 4, 2008
From Kayla Phillips' blog: