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Police Deployed Despite Cancellation of Anti-government Protests

Anti riot police were Wednesday mobilized and deployed to various places despite the cancelation of anti government protests.

The protests had been called over the high cost of living and new Finance Act 2023, which has increased prices of many commodities.

But the organisers, Azimio La Umoja Coalition on Monday announced they had called off the protests to honor those killed in similar past events.

They said they will hold “solidarity parades and vigil for victims of police brutality in various locations in all parts of the country.”

The coalition called on its supporters to come out and light candles and lay flowers for the victims of police brutality during previous demos.

Azimio said so far, 50 deaths have been reported with hundreds of others being injured and are admitted in hospitals with grave injuries.

“Azimio has made the decision that on Wednesday, rather than go to the streets for a peaceful demonstration as earlier announced, we will hold solidarity parades and vigil for victims of police brutality in various locations in all parts of the country,” a statement said.

Police headquarters however told commanders to separately prepare anti-riot teams.

For instance, the commander for eastern region told his teams to be on standby and act on Wednesday in what many think is a way of raking allowances.

Here is part of the memo:

“You all know that the demonstrations have been temporarily cancelled. They say that it is to stand in solidarity with the victims who lost their lives during previous demonstrations. They will do that by vigil and lighting candles.

Commanders this is worse than demonstrations. Imagine they will be having matchboxes and the way these politicians pull crowds quickly. In a situation like this with people mourning and tires present all over, what will prevent them from lighting tyres and blocking the roads. This can be a deception plan.

Remember there were others who they claim were shot dead in Athi River and Mlolongo and were dead..

In the last demonstration this people got attention after vandalizing the Expressway.

There are also many open grounds alongside the Expressway, which the planners may decide to use for their tomorrow’s vigil solidarity parade for victims of police brutality.

Commanders because of that, all of you to treat this deception plan as the real demonstration and make sure officers are ready. Prepare your riot platoons accordingly. Athi River East, South and Machakos take positions as early as six in the morning in full as before. Athi River East make sure there are enough officers armed to defend your police stations especially, Mlolongo, Josca, Muungano, SNP and have more than enough officers at Mlolongo express way toll station.”

This came as other regions also deployed more personnel.

In Nairobi, there were more anti riot teams on the streets.

Police mounted roadblocks on roads around State House.

Other officers were seen patrolling city streets and informing groups to disperse.

Nairobi police boss Adamson Bungei said they had mobilized enough personnel to ensure security in the city.

Police were deployed with spikes at various points on major roads including State House Road, State House Avenue, Processional Way, and Dennis Pritt where they briefly stopped and questioned motorists.

A survey showed a heavy presence of anti-riot police on major roads and informal settlements.

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