Are Demonstrations Legal Or Illegal?

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Demonstrations provide an avenue for citizens of a country to air their strong feelings about a situation.

These feelings can be expressed through press conferences, public meetings, and motionless protests.

Under Article 37 of Kenya’s 2010 Constitution, Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities.

It is however noted in the article that the demonstrations should be peaceful and with no weapons because they might stimulate aggression.

The demonstrations could be stopped at any point if they consist of violence or intimidation of the public.

According to the 1950 Public Order Act (as amended) further governs public assembly in Kenya, anybody planning to convene a public assembly/protest has to give police notice between three and fourteen days.

The Act makes it an offense, punishable upon conviction by a sentence of up to one year in prison, to hold or participate in an unlawful assembly.

Therefore, if planning to join demonstrations in the future consider the above and below are guidelines to make sure you are equipped;

Water in your plastic bottle to drink and to wash off your skin or eyes.

A backpack or a drawstring bag rather than an over-the-shoulder or a cross-body bag in case you need to run.

Cash for food and transportation or cash bail, in case you are arrested.

A change of clothes, in case you are exposed to chemical irritants.

When protesting, to protect yourself in a better way, wear the following:

Facemask.

Scarfs or bandanas large enough to cover your face from nose to chin can serve as substitutes.

Shatter-resistant eye protection e.g. a gas mask.

Clothing covers all your skin as much as possible.

Comfortable, closed, protective shoes that you can run in.

Avoid wearing makeup such as eyeliner.

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