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Stand-off as Police ban Azimio demos in Nairobi

The National Police Service (NPS) on Sunday, April 30, 2023, banned demonstrations within Nairobi County.

Mr Adamson Bungei who is the Nairobi County police boss said a decision had been made that Azimio la Umoja coalition under the leadership of Raila Odinga should not hold demonstrations in the city.

“We are declining to allow Azimio to conduct demonstrations and there will be no demos in the city of Nairobi. We also assure Kenyans of their safety during tomorrow’s (Labour Day) celebrations,” he said.

Mr Bungei also said demonstrations that were held by the opposition in March 2023 were violent and the demonstrators were armed.

He said that the Public Order Act prohibits possession of weapons at any public meetings and that protesters must always be unarmed and peaceful.

“Processions that are not peaceful are prohibited-if they consist of violence or intimidation the demonstrations have to be stopped. Demonstrators must not be armed,” the Nairobi County police boss said.

On April 26, 2023, the opposition in a letter said it will be holding demonstrations within the city’s Central Business District (CBD).

It said in the letter addressed to Mr Moses Mutayi the Nairobi Central Police Station Officer Commanding Station (OCS) that the demonstrations will take place on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

The coalition had earlier announced it would go on with the protests that had been suspended following a provisional political deal between President William Ruto and Mr Odinga to have talks.

In the letter signed by former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, the coalition notified the police of their planned peaceful meetings and processions.

Oparanya, the former Kakamega governor, explained that the coalition will be holding demonstrations in the major streets of Moi Avenue, Kenyatta Avenue, Haile Selassie Avenue and Harambee Avenue.

The ban will likely cause a stand-off between Azimio leaders and Police as the later will, as witnessed in the past, likely insist to proceed with the demos.

“The Azimio la Umoja One coalition notifies your office of scheduled peaceful public meetings to take place on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. In the course of the said meetings we intend to submit a written petition to Harambee House, Nairobi,” the statement read in part.

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