REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Kenyans protest against violence in Burundi – #WhiteFriday4Burundi
Even as the AU announced that it will not allow “another genocide” with strong indications that a peace keeping force will be sent to quell the violence in Burundi, Kenyans took to the streets to protest against the “state sponsored” currently being witnessed in Burundi.
Rallying each other on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter using the the hashtag #WhiteFriday4Burundi, a group of young Kenyans walked from the iconic Tom Moboya statute in the heart of Nairobi to the Burundian High Commission.
— Eunice Wanjiku (@EuniceWanjiku1) December 18, 2015
The peaceful demonstrations were to call on the Burundian government to stop the senseless killing of civilians in Bujumbura.
It also served as a means of shining the spotlight on the crisis in the landlocked East African nation that is now on the brink of a full blown civil war.
The demonstrators and the online community using the hash tag #WhiteFriday4Burundi asked tough questions to world leaders and citizens.
— TalkingAfrica (@TalkingAfrica) December 18, 2015
the silence from EAC leaders is not helping anybody! why are they not talking in the first place?? #WhiteFriday4Burundi
— Sewe.B (@bysewe) December 18, 2015
Others called for international action against President Pierre Nkurunzinza.
— Cheruto (@cherootie) December 18, 2015
Bold messages like the one above are however not just coming from Kenyan protestors. The silence of the international community on in the crisis that is now threatening to spiral out of hand has been noted even by the East African Law Society who are now calling for investigation by the ICC into the developments in Bujumbura.
In a letter to ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, the East African lawyers’ body say they are concerned that very disturbing images continue to come out of Burundi despite a media ban being in place.
“It is upon this platform, and in accordance with Articles 15 and 54 of the Rome Statute which empowers the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to conduct investigations propio motu on the basis of information on possible crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, that we call on the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to commence investigations into possible commission of crimes against humanity by the government of the Republic of Burundi against its citizens,” reads the letter.
The Nairobi protesters also had a petition which they read out to the press.
The Petition drafted by the East African Peace and Security Women Network among other things wanted the AU and UN to initiate measures that will bring the violence and human rights violations to a stop.
They also sought for protection of women and girls from sexual violenece.
Due to mounting pressure such as this one staged by Kenyans, the AU seems to be going back on it’s “non-inteference on internal matters policy” as it is considering sending 5000 troops to Burundi. The AU is however still non-committal as to when this force will be in place – this as innocent civilians continue to die.
Though the demonstrations were only in Nairobi, Kenyans on social media from across the country have consistently stood with the people of Burundi even as their own government remains tight lipped on events unfolding across their borders.
— ▫ (@Kimaani) December 18, 2015
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