Some 200 protesters in Kenya's capital Nairobi demonstrated against lawmakers' demands for a salary 130 times the legal minimum wage, and fed pigs' blood to live pigs at the gates of parliament to symbolize a political class widely regarded as greedy and corrupt.
Civil rights groups organized the protest to express widespread anger that politicians are demanding a pay rise so soon after a broadly peaceful election on March 4.
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Kenyan police dispersed the demonstration using teargas and water cannons.
Pigs and blood in protest (Photo: AFP)
Kenyan soldiers and piglets (Photo: AFP)
Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya's new president and its richest man, said last week that holding down the state wage bill was key to directing public funds into economic development.
But the appeal was lost on lawmakers, whose pay has been set at 532,000 shillings ($6,300) per month by the state's Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
Protester spills blood (Photo: AFP)
Handouts by politicians are common in Kenya, and MPs say they need more money to help pay constituents' school and medical expenses, as well as to reflect their stature.
They are demanding basic monthly pay of about 850,000 shillings, excluding other allowances - similar to what lawmakers were paid during the last parliament.
Kenyatta increased the minimum wage by 14 percent this month to 6,498 shillings ($77.54) a month - although many of the 80 percent of Kenyan workers employed in the informal sector earn less than this.
In January, hundreds of demonstrators torched coffins outside parliament in protest at legislators who had voted to triple their end-of-term bonuses - an increase that outgoing president Mwai Kibaki refused to sign into law.
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