City Affairs

Police remove barricades on all roads leading to State House

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The roadblocks had been in place since Thursday, June 27, 2024, following protests against the Finance Bill 2024 and calls for President Ruto’s resignation, with protesters declaring an intention to stage an Occupy State House protest.

Police officers stationed at various roadblocks on roads leading to State House left on Tuesday afternoon. They also removed the barricades allowing free flow of traffic on the roads.

The officers, mainly from the General Service Unit, had set up roadblocks at key junctions: Uhuru Highway and Nyerere Road, Arboretum Drive and State House Road, Nyerere Road and Processional Way, Kenyatta Avenue and State House Avenue, Jakaya Kikwete Road and Ralph Bunche Road, Ralph Bunche Road and State House Avenue, Jakaya Kikwete Road and Lenana Road link road, Lenana Road and Woodlands Road, Woodlands Road and Dennis Pritt Road, Jakaya Kikwete Road and Dennis Pritt Road, as well as various spots along Dennis Road and State House Road.

The roadblocks had been in place since Thursday, June 27, 2024, following protests against the Finance Bill 2024 and calls for President William Ruto’s resignation, with protesters declaring an intention to stage an Occupy State House protest.

Dennis Pritt Road that had a police roadblock. (Photo: Michael Kirwa)

The presence of the police officers disrupted the flow of traffic along Kenyatta Avenue and other roads. For the past 12 days, some roads were closed from 6 am to 6 pm, and on several days, until 8 pm. Only motorists and a few bodaboda operators who lived or worked within the areas were allowed to pass.

Most motorists and bodaboda operators were advised to use alternative routes away from the State House. Pedestrians had free movement but were occasionally stopped by police officers to explain their presence within the area.

To mitigate the threat of protesters marching to State House, police officers manning barricades were armed with batons, rifles, and tear gas canisters. Some officers were also dressed in combat gear.

Some barricades had a permanent presence of police lorries, vans, pick-up trucks (Mahindra), and anti-riot control vehicles. More officers and vehicles were stationed near State House Gate A, but these have since vacated the premises as well.

Tuesday morning saw minimal police presence at the usual roadblock points, indicating their imminent withdrawal as motorists and bodaboda operators passed more freely.

Junction of Ralph Bunche Road and Jakaya Kikwete Road. (Photo: Michael Kirwa)

By Tuesday afternoon, there were no police officers in sight at the previously barricaded points. This followed President William Ruto's assenting to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024 at the KICC on Tuesday morning, paving the way for hiring new IEBC Commissioners.

With the removal of the police from the roadblocks, residents and business operators in the Milimani area expressed relief about being able to move more freely.

Abel Mayienga, a bodaboda operator, felt restricted by the barricades. "Business has been low for the last two weeks. We were prevented from using certain roads, and the alternative routes were longer, meaning we used more fuel. With their withdrawal, we can now move more freely and earn like we used to before," Mayienga said.

Peter Irungu, who operates a car wash along Jakaya Kikwete Road, also welcomed the withdrawal of the police officers. "Business had gone down because our regular customers feared coming here due to the roadblocks. With the withdrawal of the police, I look forward to increased business," Irungu said.

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