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Nasa supporters defy Fred Matiang'i, protest in Nairobi County CBD

Nasa protests.
Nasa protesters flee after police fired teargas to disperse them on October 13, 2017 in Nairobi County. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders and supporters on Friday engaged police in fierce confrontations during demonstrations against the electoral commission as Nairobi city centre remained under a lockdown.

Police shot in the air several times to disperse the group that at some point clashed with rival members of the Nairobi business community.

Police and Nasa supporters clashed along Moi Avenue and at the General Post Office as the protesters tried to force their way into the central business district.

All this while, the MPs, led by Siaya Senator James Orengo, Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati and other leaders, remained in their cars as supporters marched along the streets.

The protesters unsuccessfully tried to reach the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) offices at Anniversary Towers.

Earlier at the Nasa secretariat at Capitol Hill, Mr Orengo led the MPs in a press conference criticising the directive by acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to ban the demonstrations from the CBD.

The MPs, who had mooted plans to sneak through the city centre while riding inside their cars, were forced to scamper after police lobbed teargas at the group.

Dispersed

The leaders then converged around the General Post Office on Kenyatta Avenue before anti-riot police dispersed them.

And it was at Moi Avenue, on their way to the IEBC headquarters, that the group faced the fierce confrontation between supporters and members of the Nairobi business community.

The business community smashed some of the MPs’ car windows and hurled stones at the vehicles.

Police shot in the air several times and lobbed teargas canisters at the two rival groups baying for each other’s blood.

Businesses remained closed for the better part of the afternoon as the confrontations were ongoing.

Peaceful

Earlier at the Capitol Hill office, Mr Orengo accused Dr Matiang’i of subverting the will of the people to demonstrate peacefully.

He denied reports that Nasa supporters were responsible for looting businesses and destroying properties and cars during protests.

“Whenever demonstrations are called, it is the responsibility of the police to provide security and bar criminals from taking advantage of the situation. Those responsible for destroying businesses were not Nasa supporters but criminal elements,” Mr Orengo said.

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