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City mechanics stay put as standoff over plot enters day four

BUSIA
By | May 19th 2009

By Ramadhan Rajab and Kenan Miruka

Standoff between police and mechanics continued for the fourth day running over the disputed plot at Globe Cinema roundabout, Nairobi.

Tension remained high after General Service Unit (GSU) officers were deployed, following fears that the mechanics could resort to violence after trenches were dug to block routes leading to the area and their stalls burnt on Sunday night.

Deputy Police Commissioner Wilfred Mbithi told The Standard that police were only taking precautionary measures to avoid disruption of businesses near Globe Cinema Roundabout.

"We are not here to take sides, but to give assurance to motorists, pedestrians and businesses around that all is well. We are here to avert any looting and attacks," Mbithi said.

Fill trenches

A contingent of police armed with clubs sat in police lorries and watched mechanics fill the trenches.

According to Central Police OCPD Titus Kilonzi who spoke to The Standard, seven people arrested in connection with the burning of a police lorry, unlawful assembly and robbing a police corporal were charged in court yesterday.

The mechanics have vowed not to relocate, terming their eviction illegal and out to deny them livelihood.

Elsewhere, two people were injured during a demonstration by Bomachoge constituents protesting at alleged freezing of the Constituency Development Fund account.

A 60-year-old man and a guard at a local construction firm, were injured after youth from an opposing camp pelted them with stones.

Angry youth

Gucha District Hospital Medical Superintendent Titus Kwambai said the two were treated and later discharged.

More than 100 protesters marched from Kenyenya market to the Gucha DC’s office in Ogembo town. On reaching Tendere, angry youth who support the freeze disrupted the march.

Their representatives, however, managed to get audience with DC Asha Kiiva, who assured them that their grievances would be addressed.

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