Protests in three main Kenya cities quelled

Gulf News - - AUSTRALIA -

Kenyan po­lice used tear­gas yes­ter­day to dis­perse pro­test­ers in the coun­try’s three main cities, Reuters wit­nesses said, as a stand­off be­tween the gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion lead­ers over a planned re­peat pres­i­den­tial elec­tion con­tin­ued.

On Thurs­day, the gov­ern­ment banned demon­stra­tions in the cen­tral busi­ness dis­tricts of the cap­i­tal Nairobi, the coastal city of Mom­basa and the western city of Kisumu. The in­te­rior min­is­ter said demon­stra­tors had dam­aged and looted prop­erty.

A re­peat pres­i­den­tial elec­tion pit­ting is sched­uled for Oct. 26 af­ter the Supreme Court nul­li­fied the re­sult of an Au­gust poll in which in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta beat veteran op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga, cit­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

Odinga with­draws

But Odinga with­drew from the race this week, say­ing the elec­tion board had failed to in­sti­tute re­forms to en­sure a free and fair elec­tion. His op­po­si­tion al­liance called for demon­stra­tions de­mand­ing a new elec­tion with a new elec­tion board in­stead.

The elec­tion board has said the polls will go ahead any­way, pit­ting Keny­atta against six other can­di­dates, none of whom polled more than 1 per­cent in the Au­gust elec­tion.

In Kisumu, a strong­hold of Odinga sup­port, pro­test­ers re­acted an­grily when po­lice turned wa­ter can­non on them to pre­vent them from en­ter­ing the city cen­tre. “Our demon­stra­tions have a (valid) ba­sis and are peace­ful,” said Odinga sup­porter Hezron Tirus Aloyo. “We con­demn the di­rec­tive ... on the lim­i­ta­tion of our rights to demon­strate.”

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