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UN rights experts: Kenya must lift ban on protests and end police brutality

[JURIST] A group of UN human rights experts on Monday urged [press release] Kenya to lift a new ban on protests and refrain from violence against protesters in the build up to the national elections.

The Kenyan authorities made it illegal to demonstrate [Polity report] in the three largest cities in the country last week. This decision was met with criticism from opposition parties as they argued that the right to protest is protected by the countries bill of rights in the Constitution of Kenya [materials].

The group of UN experts stated "Kenya is facing a choice. We urge it to choose to uphold its constitution and pursue strengthening of its democracy, to avoid deepening political divisions and exacerbating tensions." The panel voiced support for the right to demonstrate: "It is precisely when political tensions are high that governments should do their utmost to let people express their grievances and to protect their rights".

This marks an escalation in a continuing saga, beginning in the beginning of September when the Kenyan Supreme Court invalidated [JURIST report] the country's presidential election. As the country slowly moves closer to a date for a new vote for president, it remains to be seen if the main opponent to the president will run, after he had previously called for a boycott [JURIST report] of the new elections.

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