Thursday 26 November 2015

KENYA: Thousands Brave Rains To Attend Pope’s Public Mass

Thousands of Kenyans braved the Thursday morning rains and cold as they gathered at University of Nairobi grounds, ready for Pope Francis’ 10a.m. public mass.

Others were forced to camp at the Central Park, almost 500 m away from the main mass place watching huge screens that had been mounted.

This is because the main venue had been filled by 9 a.m. Security was tight as contingents of police backed by National Youth Service screened those getting into the venues. The queues snaked close to a kilometer as the faithful braved the rains that were being experienced. A police helicopter hovered the venue with security officials declaring the city had an incident free night.

Nairobi police boss Japheth Koome was leading the more than 15,000 security personnel in controlling the crowds that started streaming in by 4 a.m.

“So far we have had good times as there is no incident worth attention,” said Koome. Buses that had ferried the faithful were allowed into the city centre as other personal vehicles were locked out.

Police were rained on and did not have umbrellas as other pedestrians who were headed for the venue. The Pope mobile, which he was scheduled to use to the venue, was stationed at the Kenyatta Avenue/Uhuru Highway roundabout with an escort car and a motorbike to lead it and ready for action.

Those at venue played Catholic hymns as the crowds milled in. There had been heavy rains from Wednesday morning but they did not deter the enthusiasts who wanted to get to the venue.

Police had announced they would block the roads into the CBD. The Pope was in a meeting with inter religious leaders in Lavington by 8 am ahead of the 10 am mass at University of Nairobi.

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