Occupy Playground: Kenyan Schoolchildren Tear-Gassed At Playground Protest

Kenyon police fired tear gas at children who were protesting about the sale of their playground to a private developer.

The children had returned to the Lang’ata school in Nairobi after a two-week teachers strike to find the playground area fenced off.

Around 100 primary school children and a small group of activists pushed over a newly built wall that separated playing fields and the school buildings.

The children were said to be between the ages of six and 13 — and wearing their green school sweaters carried signs that refer to Kenya as “the land of shameless grabbers” and the seizure of the playground “terror against children.”

According to CNN, the playground had reportedly been confiscated for the construction of a parking lot.

Video showed students and activists pushing, kicking and hitting the wall with planks of wood.

An AP photographer on the scene said around 40 armed police, accompanied by dogs, dispersed the children by firing tear gas canisters, which sent the students fleeing in panic.

BBC reports that the demonstrators also included teachers at the school and political activists.

It was not immediately clear how the developer came to take possession of the land, which lies less than five kilometers west of the city center.

The city council has said the playground is public land. It has not commented on the legal status of the apparent sale.

Critics have alleged that corrupt elements were behind a deal to turn the land over to the developer.

Lang’ata Road Primary has about 1,000 children between the ages of three and 14 and is run by the Nairobi city council.

Several schoolchildren were hurt and treated in the hospital after the horrific incident.

Kenyan media reported that the police officer in charge of the operation at the playground has since been suspended.

[Image via AP]