NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan police used teargas to disperse demonstrators shouting “President, Stop the killings!” outside President Uhuru Kenyatta’s offices on Tuesday, in a protest over 28 people killed in a weekend attack claimed by Islamist militants.
The crowd also laid crosses and four coffins outside the building during the protest dubbed #OccupyHarambeeAve, a reference to the president’s address. Backers also lit up Twitter with demands the government act to prevent attacks - the most deadly of which, on a shopping mall, killed 67 in 2013.
As armed police stood nearby, protesters chanted “Lenku must go!” “Kimaiyo must go!”, demanding that the president remove Interior Minister Joseph ole Lenku, who is in charge of security, and Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.
Kenyatta was out of Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, at the time of the protest attended by about 200 people.
Lenku said through a spokesman that he would not resign. Kimaiyo was not immediately available to comment.
Deputy President William Ruto said on Sunday that security forces had killed more than 100 militants after the ambush of a Nairobi-bound bus on Saturday, and reassured Kenyans the government would pursue the militants.
Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked militants al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, where gunmen ordered passengers on the bus to recite Koran verses and shot dead non-Muslims - 19 men and nine women - who could not.
Al Shabaab said the killings were in retaliation for raids on mosques in the port city of Mombasa, where police say they are trying to flush out youths they say are being recruited to carry out attacks in Kenya.
Hussein Khalid, 32, a human rights lawyer, said security had deteriorated and people were leaving in fear.
“We want to see top security officials dismissed because they have clearly failed to perform their duties,” he said.
“If the government fails to respond to our call, we will continue with this demonstration because enough is enough.”
Writing by James Macharia; editing by Ralph Boulton