VIDEO:Rowdy youths rip through city during Cord anti-IEBC protests
Rowdy youths infiltrated the protests that centred around Anniversary Towers where the IEBC’s offices are located, causing havoc in the CBD.
The protesters who waved placards and twigs broke some motorists’ side mirrors. Drivers on their way to the CBD from Westlands were forced to use Kipande Road.
Some of the demonstrators took their march to City Hall Way forcing the closure of a Nakumatt supermarkets branch.
Shop owners on Muindi Mbingu Street followed suit as other demonstrators approached, in fear of getting robbed.
The protesters paralysed transport Moi Avenue and Tom Mboya Street as they engaged police in running battles.
A business owner who did not want to be named said: “Every Monday we suffer losses. It is painful.”
“The best thing is to avoid the CBD every Monday. If Cord continues with its protests, I will not be opening my shop on Mondays.”
Police action against persistent demonstrators
Police fired tear gas and water cannon at stone-throwing crowds of protesters who want the IEBC scrapped for allegedly being biased.
Officers armed with batons confronted hundreds of protesters outside the offices of the commission, the third clash over the issue in less than a month.
“For free and fair election, IEBC must go,” read a banner held aloft by one demonstrator.
As numbers grew, police fired tear gas and water cannon from trucks parked nearby at protesters. A Reuters witness saw one protester carrying a bag of stones, while others threw them at police ranks. Police struck some protesters with batons.
Last week, police fired tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of protesters, some of whom threw stones. Police also used tear gas to disperse a protest last month.
The Cord coalition has accused the IEBC of bias and said its members should quit. IEBC officials, led by chairman Issack Hassan, have dismissed the charge and say they will stay.
Kenya does not hold its next presidential and parliamentary polls until August 2017, but politicians are already trying to galvanise their supporters in a nation where violence erupted after the 2007 vote and the opposition disputed the 2013 result.
After the disputed 2007 vote, about 1,200 were killed in ethnic fighting.
Western diplomats have urged the authorities to work carefully with citizens to ensure peaceful elections in 2017.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who will seek re-election next year for a second and final term, has urged opponents not to take to the streets.