Over 100 people were arrested in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday, police said, as student protests over a fee increase descended into running battles with riot police.
The demonstrations were largely peaceful in the morning but quickly turned violent as the huge crowd of students from various universities disrupted traffic and robbed several motorists.
Protestors then poured into Nairobi’s central business district, forcing traders to shut up shop for fear of being looted.
“We have arrested over a hundred of them but some have been released,” Nairobi police official Paul Wanjama said.
Police responded by storming the University of Nairobi’s main campus, lobbing tear gas and breaking down classroom doors as they fought a cat and mouse game with the demonstrators. Similar protests were reported in various public universities across the country.
Speaking to Capital FM, Nairobi police chief Benson Kibue defended the crackdown.
“In any demonstration, you must do it in such a way as not to interrupt or interfere with the activities of other Kenyans. When you cause an obstruction or instil fear among bystanders, then that ceases to be a peaceful demonstration,” he said.
Students have been angered by widespread speculation of an imminent increase in tuition fees, although university officials and Kenya’s education minister have publicly denied such a plan. (AFP)