Police in Kisumu have vowed to crush any violent protests during anti-IEBC demos this Friday even as the policing watchdog begun investigations into alleged brutality.
Kisumu police boss Titus Yoma on Thursday asked residents to stay out of the harm’s way, promising to respond in equal measure to any protesters who will choose violence.
The statement by the county police commander came after it emerged that six people have been arrested in connection with the demos.
On Tuesday evening, Kisumu witnessed heavy police deployment alongside equipment.
Mr Yoma termed the Monday demos illegal, saying the organisers did not notify the police about their plan.
But Kisumu leaders have vowed to do the same thing on Friday and subsequent days without alerting the service.
“The county police commander should know that we do not need to write another letter, they had been notified by our principals in Nairobi. We will be in the streets on Friday again to fight for reforms,” said Mr Fred Outa, the Kisumu Senator.
Muhoroni MP Mr Onyango K’oyoo urged their supporters not to destroy anything during the demo.
Mr Yoma said the force that the police used in quelling violence that marred the demos on Monday was equal to the one that protestors used.
“Last Friday there were demonstrations and not even a single teargas was used because the demonstrations were peaceful. The force that was used by police on Monday was equal to the one the protesters brought forward,” said Mr Yoma.
He accused the public of being quick to bash the police without knowing the danger the officers are exposed to during demos.
“The public accuse police a lot yet on that Monday three of my officers were injured after being pelted with stones,” said Mr Yoma.
Some protesters were hurt during the demos, including nursery pupils whose school was tear-gassed in Nyalenda slums.
Officers from the Independent Policing Authority and Directorate of Criminal Investigations visited the school on Wednesday as they investigated the matter.
Concerning reports that police were overwhelmed by the protesters on Monday, Mr Yoma said that the officers were in every place and restored peace.
On Monday, police ran for shelter after protesters pelted them with rocks at Kibuye market.
The number of protestors involved in demos in Kisumu in the recent past has grown tremendously.
The demonstrators’ zeal and courage to face off with the police has also been rising, with some lamenting the lack of enough tear gas during last week’s face-off.
Additional Reporting by Victor Otieno.
Police clash with protesters in Kondele slums, Kisumu