Traders seek court orders to stop police interference in demos
Traders in the transport and logistics industry have moved to court seeking orders to stop police from disrupting their weekly demonstrations over the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
The traders are protesting a directive that all upcountry-bound cargo should be transported through the SGR.
The groups said Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, Nyali sub-county police commander Simon Thirikiwa and Nyali OCS are in violation of the Constitution for disrupting peaceful demonstrations.
This comes in the wake of Monday’s arrest of 15 people for taking part in demonstrations to protest the directive.
The protesters argued that despite an announcement by Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia that the government had suspended the order, Kenya Ports Authority was still hauling containers to Inland Container Depots (ICD)without the consent of shippers.
They added that the directive to have all the imported cargo cleared at the ICD is still in force because those in charge of the SGR cargo-hauling have not received official communication to stop.
The petition was filed by lawyer Willis Otieno on behalf of Fast Action Business Community.
He said the petition, which has been received at the Mombasa court registry, is seeking to stop police officers from dispersing protesters seeking to push the government to suspend forced clearance of cargo at the ICD in Nairobi.
He avers that police officers, acting on directives from the IG, acted against earlier orders allowing for the procession to take place.
“It’s unfortunate that 15 protesters who sustained minor injuries were clobbered and intimidated during the arrest. They were further held in police cells for over six hours and later released. No charges were levelled against them,” said Otieno.