CARGO ROW

Several rights' activists arrested as SGR demos turn chaotic

Several of the activists and truckers were also injured in the process.

In Summary

• The weekly protests against the directive by the Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Ports Authority have been held every Monday.

• Monday's protests being the fourth one has been the most confrontational.

A protester squares up with a police officer near the Nyali bridge on Monday, October 7, 2019.
A protester squares up with a police officer near the Nyali bridge on Monday, October 7, 2019.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Police officers were forced to use teargas to disperse human rights activists and truckers who were demonstrating a suspended government directive to have all imported cargo transported to the hinterland via SGR.

Muslim for Human Rights' Francis Auma, Haki Africa's Hussein Khalid and the leadership of (Fast Action Business Community) were among 20 others arrested.

Several of the activists and truckers were also injured in the process.

 
 

The weekly protests against the directive by Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Ports Authority have been held every Monday.

Activists being arrested on Monday outside the City Blue Hotel near the Nyali Bridge on Monday, October 7, 2019.
Activists being arrested on Monday outside the City Blue Hotel near the Nyali Bridge on Monday, October 7, 2019.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

The activists including Muslims for Human Rights and Fast Action Business Community have been organising the protests since last month.

However, Monday's protests being the fourth one has been the most confrontational.

Incidentally, Monday's protests were the first one where no politician participated.

This is after the activists clashed with the politicians on Saturday.

Activists being arrested on Monday outside the City Blue Hotel near the Nyali Bridge on Monday, October 7, 2019.
Activists being arrested on Monday outside the City Blue Hotel near the Nyali Bridge on Monday, October 7, 2019.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Kisauni MP Ali Mbogo had suggested they cease the protests as President Uhuru and Coast leaders have arranged a meeting to discuss the issue.

However, this did not go down well with the activists who heckled Mbogo and Senator Mohamed Faki, accusing them of siding with the government.

 

Muhuri communication, monitoring and evaluation officer Cornel Oduor said they followed all the laid down procedure to hold the demo.

"We notified them in good time. It was received. But today, they turned rogue," said Oduor.

Oduor said the 'intimidating tactics' will not cow them.

Muhuri rapid response officer Francis Auma being arrested outside the City Blue Hotel on Monday, October 7, 2019.
Muhuri rapid response officer Francis Auma being arrested outside the City Blue Hotel on Monday, October 7, 2019.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

"This shows the government is not ready to rescind the directive and not willing to sit down and talk with the stakeholders," he said.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad said the protests will not stop.

"They tried to selectively sideline us. This is the livelihoods of Mombasa people," said the MP.

According to Nassir, the government had lied and the directive is still in force in the ground.

He said the suspension was not right and is illegal.

FABC chair Salim Karama said the government had denied them their rights and feared for their lives.

"We believe they will still look for reasons to deny us our rights. The protests will go on every Monday, "Karama said.


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