Journalists bear brunt of goons, police during Azimio la Umoja city protest
Journalists covering the Azimio la Umoja coalition demonstrations yesterday had a rough time after several of them were attacked in the line of duty.
At one instance, scribes covering the anti-government demos in Kibra, Nairobi, were attacked and robbed by a knife-wielding gang.
The journalists drawn from both local and international media outlets were forced to flee after the vehicles they were using were vandalised.
Reports indicate that several of the journalists who were unable to flee in time were injured by the gang, and robbed of their valuables.
Veteran journalist John-Allan Namu reported that two journalists affiliated with African Uncensored, Calvin Rock and Clint Obere, were arrested by the police while covering protests in Mathare.
According to Namu, the journalists were later released after being detained briefly in Mathare. Goons also attacked members of the media crew who covered the invasion of the Jomo Kenyatta family land along the Eastern Bypass.
The armed goons attacked the journalists on-site at the farm known as Northlands filming the invasion of the expansive land that saw trees cut and animals stolen.
It appeared a well-orchestrated raid as the majority of the youth were seen armed with power saws and actively engaged in cutting trees.
Police did not intervene.
The highly charged youth also stole sheep from the farm which hosts Brookside Dairy farm which is owned by the Kenyatta family.
Elsewhere, a Daily Nation reporter covering the protests in Nairobi CBD complained of police harassment. On its live blog, Nation Africa reported that the journalist had been asked by police to delete images captured and destroyed their press cards.
The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) condemned the attacks, terming them cowardly.
“The attacks on innocent journalists going about their calling should be condemned by all well-meaning Kenyans. We demand that police provide security to journalists covering the demonstrations, well aware that some of the attacks have been perpetrated by the police themselves. At the same time, journalists should take note of the requirements of covering hostile assignments like riots and stay safe,” said KUJ Secretary General Eric Oduor.