Kenyans rally against MP pay hike

Demonstrators douse themselves in animal blood after parliamentarians decide to increase their own wages.

    Kenyan demonstrators have paraded a giant papier-mache pig doused in animal blood outside parliament in protest against wage increases for newly elected politicians.

    A few hundred placard-waving "Occupy Parliament" protesters smashed the pig at the gates of parliament on Tuesday, pouring animal blood over it and themselves and chanting slogans demanding MPs cut their pay.

    Protesters also waved fake banknotes and placards with the slogan "MPigs". Banners reading "I'm your employer!" and "Help the needy, not the greedy," were held at the demonstration.

    About 200 activists marched to parliament while castigating the members, locally known as MPigs, for their "greed." 

    Last month Kenyan MPs voted themselves a pay rise despite orders from the national salaries commission to cut salaries, making their wages some of the highest in the world.

    Armed police

    Politicians also defied pleas from President Uhuru Kenyatta in boosting their pay back to $10,000 a month, returning it to the rate it had been before a cut of almost 40 percent was put in place under the previous parliament.

    "Kenyans are not willing to pay for the rise," said one of the demonstration's organisers, Florence Kanyua.

    "The teachers, the police, the doctors, the nurses are poorly paid.... But the MPs don't think about those issues."

    Dozens of police armed with batons, helmets and tear gas were deployed around the parliament in the centre of Nairobi, but the event passed peacefully.

    "Most Kenyans live in extreme poverty," said Kenyan academic and expert on constitutional law Yash Pal Ghai, noting that increasing legislators' salaries would add to already heavy public debt.

    "The economy of this country cannot afford it," said Khelef Khalifa, chairman of the Muslims for Human Rights organisation.

    Tuesday's protest follows a demonstration last month in which live piglets were released outside parliament.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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