More than 200 nightclub revellers in Nakuru battled police for four hours as they resisted arrest for breaking Covid-19 curfew and other rules.
Police fired tear gas to break up the melee on Saturday. Eighty-six people were arrested, mostly women, as most of the men managed to escape. About 200 people had been present, police said.
Police said the partyers were locked inside Sebs Nightclub and Restaurant where they continued drinking and dancing into 10pm-4am curfew hours.
The club owner, Kahugi Njoroge, said he was not aware of the incident because he was away on a business trip in Nairobi.
The club is on the third floor of the former Kenya Telecommunications Building in the Nakuru Central Business District.
Clubbers threw beer bottles and other objects at police who tried to enter, leading to a four-hour standoff.
The lights were also turned off to stop police from securing the premises.
Nakuru Town east subcounty police commander Elena Kabukuru said officers were compelled to fire tear gas into the club during the crackdown at 11.30pm.
She said police took the action after their pleas and orders to open up were met with violence.
Kabukuru said most of the party-goers did not wear face masks or observe social distancing as the club was crowded.
“The suspects were all booked and will be charged on Monday and the license of the club confiscated,” Kabukuru said. She advised other entertainment venues to observe Covid curfew and other guidelines.
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Those arrested are expected to be charged, at the very least, with violating curfew, possibly assault and causing a disturbance.
The police commander said the club was operating beyond curfew hours and revellers did not observe anti-Covid guidelines.
She said the club’s operating license will be withdrawn, as ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta who outlined strict measures last week.
She said the night crackdown will continue to ensure compliance with all curfew and other Covid control rules.
Nakuru county Public Health chief officer Samuel King’ori said it was unfortunate that despite the surge in Covid cases in the region, people were still defying safety guidelines.