Residents Resist Eviction in Nairobi, Kenya

Published May 17, 2020

Demonstrators Resist Eviction in Nairobi, Kenya

On Friday May 8, 2020, in Nairobi, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets, torching cars and erecting barricades by setting fire to tires, in particular to block one of the main roads of the capital. Why? Because the government has started since Monday to evict a gigantic slum, in the district of Kariobangi, which shelters more than 7000 people, by demolishing a good number of homes and self-built shops (the day before, the Korogocho market had been closed by the government because of its “informal” and illegal aspect, putting in shit a bunch of people, up to 100,000, who depend on this market for their daily life).

Most of those evicted since Monday, several thousand, are sleeping on the streets, in the rain and in isolation due to movement restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government claims that the slum territory belongs to it, and the eviction-demolition took place despite a court decision which had ruled a few days earlier in favor of the inhabitants to stop the demolitions … And some residents evicted had been in possession of permits to live on the premises since 2008.

Mary Njeri, an evicted resident cited in an Associated Press article, said, “It is so inhuman that the government is evicting us from our homes at a time like this. Where should we go? Where am I going with my children now? I don’t have a house anymore and there is a curfew every night. “

This Friday, the anger of the inhabitants of the slum therefore exploded. The police used water cannons, tear gas and even “live” bullets to disperse the crowd (the press only spoke of one wounded …). The rioters clashed with the police, smashed and looted shops and parked cars. With the idea of ​​forcefully challenging the state’s housing-eviction policy, but perhaps also preserving part of the slum, or even rebuilding it in the days and weeks to come…

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