Just like the images of a drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi threw global spotlight onto the Middle Eastern migrant boat disasters last year, the video of a man being brutally beaten by a cop in Nairobi has become a distressing symbol of the chaos in Kenya.
While it was initially thought the man died, several sources report he is alive.
The incident occurred as hundreds of protesters – around 300 – from the opposition group Coalition for Reform and Democracy recently rallied to demand the replacement of an election oversight body, which, according to them, is biased.
Although the demonstrations were largely peaceful, according to Amnesty International, they were met with excessive and brutal force.
Armed with tear gas, batons and truncheons, Kenyan police beat unarmed protesters to a pulp. Human rights organizations are now demanding an investigation into the beatings.
“The brutal beatings by police yesterday amount to arbitrary and abusive use of force, which is illegal under Kenyan, regional and international law,” Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said in a statement.
“The Independent Police Oversight Authority must quickly launch a thorough investigation into this blatant violation of human rights. Police officers suspected of responsibility for arbitrary or abusive use of force, including those with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in fair proceedings. It is essential to ensure that the police are held accountable for excessive use of force and to send a strong signal that such violations have no place in Kenya.”
Despite violence, CORD’s leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has vowed to organize more protests.
Despite the use of undue force by police, our peaceful pickets shall continue every week until the IEBC is reformed. pic.twitter.com/GMPFgQ3Ej4— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) May 16, 2016