Kisumu protestors help police after canon breaks down
Police, Kisumu protesters in rare unity: Amidst barricades on roads, running battles between residents and anti-police, deaths, injuries and poll boycott in Kisumu, the highlight of the day on Friday was a rare show of unity, compassion and tolerance between the two combatant parties.
Tens of protestors in Kisumu on Friday evening on two occasions came to the rescue of anti-riot police officers after their water cannons broke down.
On one occasion, a water canon that came to quell riots in Kisumu veered off the road and rammed into a wall in the leafy suburbs of Milimani Estate.
At some point the officers were hostile and did not want help but they later accepted to be aided by locals who joined in with the help of a lorry to pull it away from the wall.
But it was an incident in Kondele which was peculiar.
The canon experienced mechanical problems at the exact place where officers beat up motorcycle riders and destroyed their bikes a week ago.
After day-long running battles and fierce engagement with the police, locals decided to help them solve the problem.
On Thursday alone three people were shot dead and 15 others were admitted to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) when police clashed with protestors.
However, demonstrators gave a helping after the canon broke its steering rod, veered off the road and landed in a dich.
They then pushed it back on the road. One of demonstrators who coincidentally was a victim of police brutality, happened to be a mechanic.
He offered his services and fixed it without charging a dime.
One also offered welding services when needed but at a subsidised fee for work that took close to three hours.
In the recent past, the protestors have been heard craving for an opportunity to get hold of the canon and either puncture the tank or set it ablaze.
This was not the case on Friday.
“Our demonstrations are for a worthy cause and this doesn’t mean that we are not humane in anyway,” said Mr Isaac Abich, one of the youths who helped the anti-riot police.
All this while, they spoke about the current events with the police urging for peace and the locals explaining why they demonstrate.
The incident lit up social media, with many people coming out to hail the unity exhibited by the two opposing sides.
A Facebook user, Millie Ochieng said, “At the end of the day we are all brothers.”
Another, Julu Son, said, “Luos are always friendly, more so if you don’t violate their rights.”