Transport paralysed, several injured as police engage city residents in running battles

Police officers disembark from a truck during anti-government protests in Nakuru city on July 19, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A city hospital last evening reported at least seven cases of injuries following day-long battles between police officers and anti-government protestors.

A source at Mama Lucy Hospital told The Standard that the patients were brought by ambulances.

By last evening no casualty had been reported. Those admitted had broken limbs, while others registered general injuries.

Earlier in the day, major roads in Nairobi experienced minimal traffic at the start of three days of anti-government protests called by Azimio.

Unlike in the last demonstrations when a majority of workers braced for the day and continued with their activities, movement on the roads and estates was notably low.

Also, unlike other days when anti-riot police operated alone in the city centre, personnel from the National Youth Service were deployed in the morning hours.

The NYS groups were spotted patrolling all the way to the downtown areas of the city.

All the entries to the city centre, however, had anti-riot police on standby monitoring those moving in and out.

In downtown Nairobi, some shops and hotels were opened but traders kept an eye out in case of any eventuality.

Many matatu saccos parked their vehicles in petrol stations and in yards, unsure of how the day would unfold.

Even so, Matatu Owners Association chairman Albert Karakacha told The Standard that they did not advise the matatu operators to keep off the roads.

“Some matatu owners kept off the roads as a precautionary measure. We have not directed anyone to stop their operations,” Mr Karakacha stated.

He added, “We are also businesspeople and we hope that peace will be found so that we can continue serving Kenyans as usual.”

Travellers who depend on commuter train services were affected after Kenya Railways suspended their services until further notice.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Kenya Railways said they suspended services as a precautionary measure following recent incidents during anti-government protests.

Activities at the Nairobi County Assembly were also paralysed as no single Member of the County Assembly showed up despite earlier communication that they were supposed to have a sitting.

“For the first time, I showed up alone in the Assembly, no member from either side was present in the chambers, so no business was conducted,” County Speaker Ken Ng’ondi said.

“Three clerks are supposed to be present whenever we have proceedings but only one of them showed up. The demonstrations have interrupted everything in the house,” Mr Ng'ondi added.

Minority Leader Anthony Kiragu from the Kenya Kwanza side said members from his coalition decided to move around the wards to preach peace.

[Pkemoi Ng'enoh, Antony Achayo, Mike Kihaki, James Wanzala and Wesley Koech]

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