A chilling story emerged from Kenya this week after reports that police there fired tear gas against a group of elementary school children protesting the loss of a public playground. The students were joined by teachers and activists looking to stop a building developer from removing the play area.
The students were protesting the illegal seizure of their playground at the Langata Road Primary School the city of Nairobi. The play area belongs to the elementary school, but developers in the African nation hungry for places to build have been engaging in a practice known as “land grabbing” – where government property is walled off by a fence or other structure then essentially protected by police.
Kenya’s internal security minister Joseph Ole Nkaissery has ordered that the developer remove a perimeter wall at the Langata playground and that the land does legally belong to the school. However, the tear gas attack this past Monday (Jan. 19) has left behind a series of shocking images and video from various news outlets. Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta has condemned the tear gas attacks, and the police chief in charge during the protests has been suspended.
As reported by NPR’s Morning Edition, the Langata Road Primary School’s borders will now be protected by way of Kenyan Land Ministry chief Cesare Mbaria. However, there still exists some speculation that government corruption is at the core of the land grabbing incidents.
The #OccupyPlayground hashtag has been a hub for much of the information surrounding the protests in Kenya.
Visit the following pages for images from the Langata Road Primary School tear gas assault.
Photo: Associated Press