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Police keep NASA supporters away from city centre

NASA leaders and supporters wanted to hold prayers Sunday night outside the Supreme Court

Police prevented NASA leaders and supporters from assembling outside the Supreme Court

Security operation extended to estates to prevent Opposition supporters from heading to the city centre.

Police sealed off the Supreme Court to block a vigil in support of the presidential election petition filed by NASA.

Whereas on Saturday officers blocked major roads near the court, Sunday, the operation was extended to the informal settlements where security personnel patrolled on foot, discouraging people from heading to the city centre.

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In the afternoon, a group of MPs and their supporters led by John Mbadi, Simba Arati, Gladys Wanga, Opiyo Wandayi and Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina were barred by police from accessing the precincts of the court.

The politicians had walked towards the Supreme Court before armed police officers stopped and pushed them back.

Police also ordered them to switch off a public address system, saying it was noisy and disruptive.

The MPs protested against the police’s move, saying it was their right to pray whenever they wanted. They told their supporters to come out for prayers and vigil outside the Supreme Court today.

The petition against the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 8 polls started Saturday amid tight security around and within the precincts of the Supreme Court.

Quiet environment

Nairobi police boss Japheth Koome said the move to bar the planned prayer vigil was meant to ensure that judges had a quiet environment to make their decisions.

“We don’t want the groups to come and disrupt peace. Let them stay away and wait the outcome,” he said.

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Pedestrians around Supreme Court were also turned away by police.

The National Super Alliance (NASA) also protested against the decision by the police to block their supporters from holding the prayer vigil and vowed to go on with hold peaceful prayers today.

The public was also barred from accessing the court. Only judges, lawyers, Supreme Court staff and accredited journalists were allowed in.

As early as 9 am on Saturday, the precincts of the court had been cordoned off by police in riot gear. This was maintained yesterday.

Koome declared the areas around the Supreme Court a no-go zone, with the police announcing the closure of streets near the building until Friday.

City Hall way, Taifa Road and part of Wabera Street will remain closed to pedestrians and vehicles. The High Court parking will also remain closed to vehicles and small-scale traders

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) criticised the decision by the police to stop the planned prayer vigil.

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“Our expectations were that the police would provide security to the worshippers and ensure that the Sunday offertory was protected from those who might have ill intent,” said ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen.

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