Police Teargas Motorsport Event, Fire Live Bullets At Enthusiasts (VIDEO)

The popular track had hosted the Riders COVID-19 virus vaccination drive which had attracted over 100 riders and fans as they were vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Police Teargas Motorsport Event, Fire Live Bullets At Enthusiasts (VIDEO)

A confrontation between police officers and motorcycling enthusiasts at Whistling Morans in Athi River, Machakos County turned ugly and left several people injured on Sunday, September 26.

The popular track had hosted the Riders COVID-19 virus vaccination drive which had attracted over 100 riders and fans as they were vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Dozens of riders had arrived at the track for the racing event in the early morning hours but was disrupted by a section of police officers drawn from the Athi River police station. 

Guests attending the 'Riders Covid-19 virus vaccination drive' in Athi River, Machakos County, on September 26, 2021 scamper for safety as police officers act to stop the event. /DAILY NATION

According to a letter dated September 23, 2021, the organisers of the event had failed to comply with safety requirements by the Government and International Motorsport Governing Bodies as well as COVID-19 protocols.

“Following your recommendation that the event be canceled on account of the foregoing concerns and considering that Motorsports is a highly regulated space owing to the safety requirements by the Government and International Motorsport Governing Bodies, a directive is hereby issued to cancel the event until all the prerequisites set by the Ministry and the Federation are met. This will secure the safety of participants and maintain the standards required to organise a competitive motorsport event in Kenya. 

"By a copy of this letter, the organisers, sponsors, and members of the public associated with this event are notified that following the organisers’ non-compliance with Governing Rules and Regulations and following MSCF’s advisory to Government to protect participants and the public from the pitfalls of this unsupervised high-risk competitive event, it is herewith canceled.
Breach of this directive will attract the stipulated consequences," said Sports PS Joe Okudo in the letter. 

The order prompted the organiser to seek court orders on Friday, September 24 to allow for the event to take place. 

However, the officers, in videos seen by Viral Tea, stormed the event on Sunday and fired teargas at the participants as well as live bullets, which forced them to scamper for safety. 

Several people including women and children were injured while vehicles and motorcycles were damaged in the chaos. The vaccination drive was also disrupted.

"I came to the race hoping to get a COVID-19 jab. Everyone allowed into the venue had a temperature check and all COVID-19 protocols were observed. The event was by invitation to control the crowd. It's unfortunate it had to end this way," Allan Muigai, a participant, told the Nation

Kennedy Marete, an advocate of the High Court and one of the event's organisers, claimed that individuals from the Ministry of Sports had used police officers to scupper the event as they were not invited. 

"Our members were injured after a police officer fired in the air and hurled teargas canisters, resulting in a stampede. The irony is that police officers can ignore a court order and use COVID-19 protocols to stop an event. It's barbaric and unethical," said Marete. 

The Whistling Morans track is one of the most popular race tracks in Kenya which has been hosting motorcycle and sports car races on a majority of weekends, under COVID-19 protocols on gatherings. 

Sports cars such as Subarus, souped up Nissans, Mitsubishis among others grace the track.

Remains of a teargas canister and live bullet fired at motorsport enthusiasts at Machakos County on September 26, 2021. /TWITTER