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Airport strike in Kenya, thousands of passengers stranded

ELBC/BBC's Lynne Wachira
Passengers were blocked from entering Nairobi's International Airport terminals on Wednesday
Passengers were blocked from entering Nairobi's International Airport terminals on Wednesday

KENYA-Thousands of passengers have been stranded in Kenya's four main airports after a strike by workers caused major disruption to flights on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Riot police were deployed and used tear gas and batons to disperse striking workers at the capital's main airport, local media say. Workers say they are unhappy over a planned merger between the airport authority and the national airline.

About 60 flights failed to leave Jomo Kenyatta International Airport - East Africa's largest but some operations had resumed by the afternoon, airports in Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu also remains disrupted.

The government has condemned the strike as illegal and Kenyan air force personnel have been brought in to ease the situation, as some planes reportedly left without passengers.

The Kenya Airways says the situation is improving, with long-haul flights to Amsterdam and Mumbai having departed, others boarding and domestic flights "set to resume shortly". Some flights to regional destinations have been cancelled.

A key figure in the organization of the strike, Kenya Aviation Workers Union Secretary -General, Moss Ndiema, has been arrested.

Most frustrated passengers have complained of lack of information and support from the authorities, with travellers waiting for hours with no update on their flights.

Others passengers voiced their anger at the use of force to break up the protest,while according to BBC's Lynne Wachira,  a man was seen bleeding from the head, after being injured in clashes between workers and riot police.

 


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