Chaos, bonfires and teargas on Thursday morning turned parts of the capital Nairobi into no-go zones as traders clashed with police and county askaris.
The businesspeople who sell their wares at Wakulima, also known as Marikiti, and Muthurwa markets were protesting over arrest of their colleagues by Nairobi City County askaris.
The officers, the traders said, violently arrested five businesspeople, including their chairman Cyrus Kaguta.
Central Police Station boss Robinson Thuku confirmed the arrests to the Nation, saying the five traders were locked up for violating city bylaws.
The businesspeople marched, chanted, blocked roads, lit bonfires and pelted police and motorists with rocks in the madness that caused a traffic nightmare for commuters heading for offices in the central business district.
Trouble started on Wednesday evening when a county askari was beaten senseless by traders during an operation against traders who had encroached on Haile Selassie Avenue.
During evenings, hawkers turn most busy city streets and roadsides into make-shift markets despite numerous effort to restore order in the capital.
Keen not to lose the battle for control of the city and its revenues, the askaris on Thursday morning returned to the market, this time with police escort in full combat gear.