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Photos: Thousands gather at Uhuru Park to honour those killed during protests

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The stage was adorned with the national colours as Kenyans waved the national flag.

Thousands of youth gathered at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, on Sunday for a memorial concert to honour those killed during anti-finance protests. The event, dubbed Shujaaz Memorial Concert, was not just a tribute but also a reminder of the country's journey toward democracy and social justice.

Youths wave flags at the memorial concert at Uhuru Park. (Justine Ondieki)

The date was significant. It was July 7, Saba Saba, a day deeply etched in Kenya's history. Saba Saba marks a pivotal moment in the fight for Kenya's second liberation. On this day in 1990, brave Kenyans took to the streets demanding multi-party democracy, challenging the authoritarian regime of the time. Their courage and sacrifice paved the way for the democratic freedoms enjoyed today.

Some of the names of those who lost their lives during the anti-finance bill protests. (Photo: Hafsa Hassan)

The stage at Uhuru Park was adorned with the national colours as Kenyans waved the national flag. The youth, many of whom were directly or indirectly affected by the recent protests, gathered to pay their respects and reflect on what they termed as the ongoing struggle for justice and equity in the country. Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja okayed the use of Uhuru Park for the memorial earlier in the week.

The youth started streaming in at noon amid the tight security. Police officers were pictured at various points in the Nairobi Central Business District ahead of the concert.

Some police officers were seen outside Parliament, whose parameters protesters breached on June 25 in a demonstration that turned very destructive and deadly.

At the concert, prominent musicians, including Nameless, Mr . Lenny, Gigi Gigi, Juliani, Octopizzo, Eric Wainaina and Sanaipei Tande took the stage to perform to the crowd, with each one paying tribute to those who perished.

"We are here to celebrate the heroes who lost their lives during the protests. Kenya has changed because of people standing up for their rights... I have never seen something like this," singer Nameless told The Eastleigh Voice.

 

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) said that at least 39 people were killed since the beginning of the nationwide anti-Finance Bill protests in Kenya.

Sanaipei Tande performs at the memorial concert at Uhuru Park in Nairobi. (Photo: Justine Ondieki)

The Commission’s chairperson Roseline Odede said that data collected shows that Nairobi leads the number of fatalities standing at 17. Uasin Gishu reported 4 fatalities while Nakuru, Kajiado and Mombasa reported 3 deaths each. Kisumu had 2 deaths related to the chaos. Laikipia, Narok, Kakamega, Kisii, Siaya, Kiambu and Nandi each has 1 fatality reported.

The crowd at Uhuru Park for the memorial concert. (Photo: Amina Wako)

Humanitarian groups accused the police of having used excessive force on the peaceful protesters, leading to dozens of deaths.

The turmoil unfolded as young activists successfully forced the government to shelve new tax hikes in the Finance Bill 2024, and now they are focusing on ending years of what they see as endemic corruption and shoddy governance. They have called for the resignation of President William Ruto even after he vowed to streamline operations in his government following the uproar. At the memorial concert, some Kenyans chanted 'Ruto must go' as they expressed their anger on the killings during the protests.

Nameless and and Mr. Lenny performed live at The Shujaaz Memorial Concert at Uhuru Park. (Photo: Justine Ondieki)

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