14 arrested as Kenya bans Nasa protests

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Kenya protests

Fourteen people have been arrested following the attack on two police officers and destruction of property in Homa Bay town during protests by the opposition on Wednesday.

Nyanza Regional Coordinator Wilson Njega said the arrests also followed destruction of a firearm belonging to one of the officers by the attackers, who threw it in a burning kiosk during the protests by National Super Alliance (Nasa) supporters.

“We have arrested 14 people in Homa Bay following Wednesday’s attack of two police officers and confiscation of a firearm, which was later destroyed by the youth. They will be charged in court,” Mr Njega told the Nation.

Demonstrations have been banned in the central business districts of three major Kenyan cities – the capital Nairobi, Mombasa and the opposition stronghold of Kisumu.

The minister of internal security, Fred Matiang’i, said protest organisers would be held personally liable for any damage caused.

There has been growing tension in the country since the Supreme Court annulled the results of August’s presidential election.

The main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has announced his withdrawal from a planned re-run and his supporters have been holding regular protests.

“Due to the clear, present and imminent danger of breach of peace, the government notifies the public that, for the time being, we will not allow demonstrations within the central business districts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu,” said Security Minister Fred Matiangi.

“The inspector general of police has been advised accordingly.”

The outlawing of city centre protests comes as the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) had promised to step up its demonstrations demanding reforms before the holding of a presidential poll re-run, due on October 26.

Matiangi said opposition protests had seen “attacks on police stations, attacks on police officers occasioning grievous bodily harm, serious disruption of normal business, assault on innocent civilians, destruction and looting of property.”

He threatened protest organisers with legal action.

“It is the responsibility of the organiser that all participants remain peaceful. The organisers shall be held personally liable for any breach of law during the demonstrations,” he said.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga said this week that he is withdrawing from the scheduled re-run.

He said that without fundamental reforms to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the vote would not be free and fair.

Source: AFP/BBC