NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan police Tuesday tear-gassed a peaceful demonstration in support of government action against corruption in East Africa’s largest economy.
About 200 demonstrators held a peaceful march to the Supreme Court and Parliament buildings where they delivered petitions asking those institutions to do more to tackle corruption in Kenya, demonstration organizer Boniface Mwangi said.
Police blocked the protesters’ attempts to proceed to State House, the official residence of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Thirty-three people were arrested and then released with a warning, said Peter Katam, a senior police official.
Mwangi said he is surprised by the police action because the demonstration was peaceful and in support of government action against those implicated in corruption.
“I am of the opinion now that the president is pretending to fight corruption,” Mwangi said.
Kenyatta’s administration has come under harsh criticism recently for not pursuing high level officials implicated in graft. Kenyatta last week replaced six ministers in his Cabinet, five who had vacated office in March to allow for investigations over allegations of graft and one who resigned last month citing health reasons, following demands that she should take responsibility for corruption in her ministry. Kenyatta has declared corruption a threat to national security and outlined new measures, including the vetting of custom and revenue officials.
The U.S. ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec has said corruption in Kenya is a crisis. Kenya was ranked 145 out 174 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 index of perception of graft.
TOM ODULA, Associated Press
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