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Kenyan anti-government protests resume with police firing tear gas

KENYAN police fired tear gas at a small group of protesters in the capital Nairobi on Tuesday as the opposition resumed anti-government demonstrations following a one-month pause.

The main opposition coalition organised three days of demonstrations in March to protest high living costs and alleged fraud in last year’s election, which its leader Raila Odinga lost to President William Ruto.

Those protests were marred by clashes between police and demonstrators as well as sporadic incidents of violence, including one that Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki termed as “ethnically-laced arson” when a church and mosque were set ablaze in Nairobi’s Kibera neighbourhood.

Odinga suspended the demonstrations in early April, agreeing to talks with Ruto’s representatives. But he later announced that the protests would resume, accusing the government of not negotiating in good faith.

A Kenyan television station on Tuesday showed police firing tear gas to disperse a handful of protesters in Nairobi’s Mathare neighbourhood, as well as footage of a minibus that had been set on fire on a road leading to the city centre.

Reuters photographer saw a trailer on fire on a major bypass that goes around the capital.

In the central business district, there was a heavy police deployment and some shops remained closed. The police said on Monday that the protests would be considered unlawful.

Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) coalition said the protests would go ahead.

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By The African Mirror