NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 6 – The National Super Alliance anti-IEBC demonstrations in Nairobi were largely peaceful with anti-riot police officers seen escorting demonstrators to ensure their safety and stop any infiltration by goons.
Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris led tens of supporters and unlike last week, she was able to address journalists outside the IEBC headquarters, where she echoed Raila Odinga’s demands for reforms and removal of several senior officials led by the electoral body’s CEO Ezra Chiloba.
“I am proud to be a Kenya, proud that I am able to demonstrate and not be tear-gassed or shot at with rubber or live bullets,” she said.
“I want to commend the police for actually allowing us our democratic right to picket and demonstrate. We are very clear, we want the irreducible reforms in the IEBC.”
Another group of women resorted to prayer saying they were “tired of engaging police in running battles.”
“We are peaceful. We just want reforms at the IEBC,” they would be heard saying.
Police were however forced to lob teargas after NASA supporters encountered another group supporting the IEBC within the Central Business District.
In Kisumu, property of unknown amount was destroyed and transport paralyzed after supporters of the Opposition barricaded major highways.
Earlier Friday police said the National Super Alliance supporters and their leaders were free to demonstrate provided they did it peacefully.
Nairobi County Commander Japheth Koome said police would accord them protection but warned that they would act firmly if they turned chaotic.
“We don’t derive pleasure in clobbering fellow citizens,” the Nairobi Police boss said.
“We are here to protect lives and property.”
He warned against supporters blocking roads or destruction of property.
On the question of counter-demonstrations, he said every Kenyan had a right to express their opinions without infringing on the rights of others.
“We’re here to provide security for all Kenyans and we will do it jealously without fear or favour,” he said.
A group of demonstrators dubbed the Nairobi Business Community has vowed to counter the NASA protests.
While NASA is calling for reforms at the electoral body, the rival group wants IEBC given a chance to prepare adequately for the October 26 fresh presidential election.
The coalition has increased demonstration days from two to three, starting next week.