Tuesday 20 August 2019

One killed in Kenya as police clash with opposition protesters

People run for safety on the main Uhuru Highway as police fire tear gas (AP)
People run for safety on the main Uhuru Highway as police fire tear gas (AP)

At least one person has been killed in confrontations between Kenyan police and supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga as tensions over the disputed presidential election continued.

Police fired live rounds and tear gas to prevent Mr Odinga's convoy from making its way from the airport to Nairobi's main park so he could address supporters after returning from a trip overseas.

Legislator Otiende Amollo said his car was shot at by officers.

Police warned earlier this week they would not allow a ceremony to welcome Mr Odinga back from speaking engagements abroad. Opposition legislators had urged supporters come out "more than one million strong".

Mr Odinga spoke in the US and the UK about Kenya's political turmoil following a court-nullified presidential election and a fresh vote last month.

Mr Odinga, whose claim of electoral fraud led the Supreme Court to nullify President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election in August, boycotted the new vote, saying reforms had not been made.

Mr Kenyatta's win last month is being challenged at the Supreme Court by activists and a politician amid claims of irregularities. The court will make a decision on Monday.

A police cordon ringed Uhuru Park where Mr Odinga had been expected to address supporters. Police used tear gas on people walking in groups towards the park.

Youths who accused police of stopping them on a main highway from going to the airport to greet Mr Odinga threw stones at officers, in confrontations aired on live television.

Rights activists condemned the police, accusing officers of taking sides in the political crisis and violating the constitution by preventing opposition supporters from assembling.

The nullification of Kenya's August election was the first time a court in Africa had overturned a presidential vote. At least 70 people have died in political unrest since then, the majority opposition demonstrators shot by police during protests.

"In the face of this shameful police brutality and serious violations of human rights to life and physical security, the Uhuru Kenyatta government has remained mute and at times cheered the police on and made alarming statements in support of horrifying police actions," rights activist Ndungu Wainaina said.


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