30 November 2005

Kenya: Police Ordered to Seal Off Mombasa Rally Venue

Nairobi — Police have been instructed to seal off Mombasa Municipal Stadium, venue of a planned Orange thanksgiving and prayers rally on December 10, The Standard has learnt.

Firm instructions were yesterday given to the police to stop the planned Mombasa rally "at all costs", according to confidential sources.

Police Commissioner Major-General Hussein Ali was unavailable for comment, but Government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua said, "You heard the Government position early in the week. Nothing has changed".

Mutua insisted police would not license the rallies. He declined to comment on the new order, which makes the possibility of a clash real if Orange chooses to defy the ban and go ahead with the rally as they have already indicated.

Clash left four dead

Slightly over three weeks ago, an Orange rally was violently dispersed by police in a bloody clash that left four people dead and several others injured in Likoni, Mombasa, at the height of the referendum campaigns.

It happened a month after another four people were killed in similar riots in Kisumu.

Vice-President Moody Awori released a statement on Sunday night, which banned all the Orange rallies across the country. He said the rallies were a threat to national security.

But the Orange group met on Monday and immediately announced that their first rally would be held on December 10 in Mombasa.

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