Demand for Immediate Release of #OccupyParliament Demonstrators and Condemnation of Police Brutality

Press Statement

18th June, 2024, Accra, Ghana.

The Africa Water Justice Network (AWJN) stands in solidarity with the twenty-one human rights and civil society organizations of the Police Reforms Working Group Kenya (PRWG-Kenya) in expressing our deep alarm at the mass arrests of 210 peaceful protestors, journalists and observers during the #OccupyParliament demonstration in Nairobi this morning. The brutal response by the National Police Service, including the use of excessive force, intimidation and arbitrary arrests, represents a grave infringement of human rights. Even more worrying is authorities refusing the 210 arrested demonstrators access to their lawyers or to food, medicine and sanitary supplies.

The right to peaceful assembly and protest, as enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya (2010), is the right of all citizens of free societies and a cornerstone of any democracy. This right, along with the freedom to speak on public affairs, is equally vital for realising a just and equitable society, which is a fundamental objective of the AWJN. The actions of the Kenyan Police in violently suppressing the right to free speech and peaceful assembly underscore a disturbing trend of silencing of dissent through intimidation and violence seen in other countries in recent years, including efforts to suppress human rights defenders gathering at the People’s Water Forum in Bali, Indonesia last month.

We echo the demands of other CSOs for the immediate release of all the arrested demonstrators and observers. The Kenyan Police should uphold their duty to respect and protect the rights of people to assemble peacefully. The use of excessive force and intimidation must stop.

We call upon the Kenyan government to safeguard the right to protest, ensuring that individuals can express their views without fear of arrest or violence. Today’s actions are not only a violation of human rights but also a stark reminder of the ongoing struggle for social justice and equity in Africa.

The AWJN stands in unwavering solidarity with those who exercise their rights to peaceful assembly and demonstration. We urge allies and partners to join us in demanding respect for all human rights.


Leonard Shang-Quartey


The Africa Water Justice Network remains committed to ensuring justice, equity, and the upholding of human rights across Africa. We will continue to stand against any forms of oppression and support the rights of citizens to peaceful assembly and free expression.

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