By Muliro Telewa
BBC News, Nairobi
Police in Kenya have stopped hundreds of people living with HIV and Aids from demonstrating at the Indian High Commission in Nairobi.
The protesters say they may soon not be able to afford medicine
The protests, also planned in Uganda and Tanzania, are over an Indian draft law which may block poor countries' access to anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs.
According to WTO rules, India is obliged to protect and enforce drug patents from the start of this year.
This will stop routine generic drug production, protesters say.
The production has led to major reductions in the cost of ARV medicines, as well as other medicines that treat other diseases affecting millions of people in developing countries.
Message for India
Some protesters gathered in Nairobi's Uhuru Park, singing to console themselves after the police banned their planned demonstration through the town to the Indian High Commission.
The Aids victims, accompanied by some members of various pressure groups, said it was necessary to let Kenyans know that they may soon not be able to afford medicine in Kenya because of India and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
James Kamau, a self-declared HIV-positive patient, showed me some of his Indian-manufactured ARV drugs.
"These are $20 a month as compared to $395 for [patented] products," he said.
The police agreed to escort representatives of the protesters to the high commission to hand over their letter of protest.
'Let us protest'
They want India to ignore what they termed "WTO dictatorship", by which India is obliged to observe patents according to its rules on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights.
Although they eventually presented their letter to the high commission, the group complained that they should have been allowed to demonstrate.
They said it was sad that although the government admitted that between 500 and 700 people died in the country daily from Aids-related diseases, it was not ready to give them a chance to express their opinion.
The Indian parliament will discuss amendments to the country's Patent Act of 1970 in the next few weeks.
If the amendment is passed manufacturers of generic drugs in India, where Kenya gets most of its ARVs, will pay some commissions to originators of the drugs for a period of 20 years.