Six injured as Kenya police battle protestors

April 1, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Six people, including a policeman were seriously injured when mechanics and workers at a waste management site on Kijabe Street in Nairobi engaged law enforcers in running battles to protest their eviction.

Three of those wounded were shot by the police while another was hit by a tear gas canister as they rejected plans to move them from the riparian land.

Three other protesters were rushed to hospital unconscious after they were saved from the murky waters of Nairobi River where they nearly drowned while trying to evade arrest.

"The Police were too brutal.  They have beaten many people and shot others. We were just defending our right because the government has ignored our plight," a protester Mark Otieno said.

The demonstrators claimed one of those wounded had died as he was being rushed to hospital, but police later denied any fatality had occurred.

"We are not aware of any death, some people were injured in the process but we have not received any death report," Superintendent of Police George Tonui who led the operation said.

Trouble started when the workers clashed with city council askaris who had gone to evict them, prompting the mechanics and waste management workers to block roads at the Globe Cinema roundabout.

They accused the council askaris of setting ablaze heaps of waste paper at the dumping site, causing more destruction.

The usually busy area was turned into a battle ground, with dark smoke billowing from the dump site.

The mechanics and traders at the area lit bonfires on the road before they were confronted with tear gas canisters and live ammunition.

At least 30 suspects were arrested and were likely to appear in court to face charges of incitement and malicious damage to property.

Some of the suspects were arrested when police cornered them as they tried to swim across Nairobi River.

Although others were able to escape, four of them were not lucky as police surrounded them and handcuffed them.

Two weeks ago, mechanics at garages on Kirinyaga roads engaged police in battles as they protested eviction from land that has been sold to private developers.

They blocked roads and stoned motorists for nearly six hours before they finally retreated and went back to their businesses.

Wednesday’s chaos took place about 300 meters from the scene of last week’s violence.


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