Police block roads leading to State House ahead of expected demos


• The police turned away some motorists and pedestrians using the roads.

Police block roads leading to State House ahead of expected demos
Image: courtesy

Anti-riot police on Sunday blocked roads near and around State House in Nairobi for the third day after anti-Finance Bill protests.

The police turned away some motorists and pedestrians using the roads.

This was in reaction to fears the protesters may still attempt to march to State House on Sunday.

Police said they had intelligence some groups may try to march to State House hence the deployment.

This came as a group met at Jevanjee Gardens in Nairobi to honor those killed in the protests.

Human rights activists say up to 23 people have been killed in the protests and many are missing after abduction.

Police were first deployed to roads near State House on Thursday when the protesters planned to march in Nairobi and other urban areas to denounce the move by Parliament to pass the Finance Bill 2024.

Other roads around the city center were Sunday blocked by police.

President William Ruto declined to sign the bill and asked the Members of Parliament to delete all clauses therein. 

The roads affected included Dennis Pritt Road, State House Avenue, Processional Way, Valley Road, Jakaya Kikwete Road and adjacent feeder roads.

The police asked motorists and pedestrians to identify themselves, their destinations and their mission there.

The protesters said they planned a march to the city centre to among others mourn those killed in the past protests.

Major businesses remained closed in the city, with few motorists.

Police assured those who opened their businesses of their safety.

Reports show more anti-riot police were deployed to major towns in the country ahead of the protests. More barricades were erected on roads near state lodges.

At least 23  people were Tuesday and Thursday killed in anti-proposed taxes protests in the country.

The military was permitted to be deployed on the streets to back up police in their operations.

Ruto Wednesday formally wrote to Parliament proposing to delete the Finance Bill 2024.

Ruto, in the memorandum drawn shortly after he announced the withdrawal cited widespread protests against the bill.

"In exercise of the powers conferred to me by Article 115(1)(b) of the Constitution, and having reservations on the content of the Bill in its entirety, I decline to assent to the Finance Bill, 2024, and refer the bill for reconsideration by the National Assembly with the recommendation for deletion of the clauses thereof," the memorandum reads.

This means the bill stands withdrawn and the decision can only be overturned by two-thirds of the 349 MPs (233).

The move came after he had met a group of MPs at State House following protests opposed to the proposed taxes.

“I send condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate manner. Consequently, having reflected on the continuing conversation around the content of the finance bill of 2024, I will decline to assent to the bill,” he said.

Kenyans kept mobilising online with divided opinion on the planned protests in the coming week.

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