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Kenyans in US protest outside UN office

A group of Kenyans in the United States staged a march at the United Nations headquarters in New York to protest the crackdown on opposition leaders and harassment of journalists.

The demonstrators, who live in the Tri-State area of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania braved rain, wind and cold to display banners and read statements that were later handed to UN officials.

“We want the international community to know what is going on in Kenya where impunity and flagrant disregard of judicial process, press freedom and the rule of law seem to the norm,” Ms Beatrice Oduor read the group’s statement.

“Western democracies should not turn a blind eye to the violations.”

The Kenyan government came under criticism from several speakers.

They said the administration was engineering the re-emergence of intolerance of opposing views experienced during the one party dictatorships of former presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi.

They said the events leading to the swearing-in of Mr Raila Odinga and the banishment Mr Miguna Miguna to Canada did not spring from some vacuum.

“Kenyans fought hard to free themselves from infamy. The scars of those years are still fresh in the national psyche and that is why we have collectively resolved to never again allow dictatorship to thrive,” Mr Nick Oguttu of Amnesty International said.

They added that they were convinced it was not possible to return to business as usual “when more than half the country still felt disenfranchised”.

The group said a government that was legitimate would not act guilty.

Amnesty International USA, Kenya Yetu Initiative and Kenyan Diaspora organised the protest.

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