Kenyan demonstrators protesting a proposed law that would raise wages for parliamentarians have released a litter of pigs and poured blood on the pavement outside the gates of parliament in Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Police and parliament officials chased the pigs after using tear gas, batons and water cannons to disperse the nearly 250 protesters who marched through downtown Nairobi Tuesday and sat down at the entrance to parliament.
At least 10 people were arrested.
“We will not allow members of parliament to increase their salaries at will,” Okiya Omtatah, one of the protest organisers shouted.
“They are greedy just like the pigs we have brought here,” Omtatah added.
Mithika Linturi, a parliamentarian supporting a proposed bill, said the protesters had little regard for the law and that “there are proper channels to air their grievances”.
“Kenya is not a banana republic. This premise should be respected,” Linturi told reporters as he made his way into parliament, adding that parliamentarians had “a right to their opinions, even if they do not please everyone.”
The proposed bill would disband the commission that regulates MP’s salaries and thus lead to a pay rise for the law makers, and allow for future rise at their instance.
The bill is the first act of Kenya’s parliamentarians since their election in March 4 polls.
Kenyan parliamentarians are already some of the best paid on the continent, although their tax-free monthly salary of some $13,000 in the previous parliament has been cut to around $7,000.
The wages were cut after recommendations by the salaries commission, the body MPs now wish to close.
In January, parliamentarians voted themselves a $107,000 send-off bonus, their last work before parliament closed ahead of elections, after earlier efforts to grant themselves the windfall were vetoed by the then President Mwai Kibaki.