Kenyan riot police fired tear gas and water cannon against demonstrators and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga’s convoy on Monday, as clashes flared during anti-government protests over the spiralling cost of living.

Running battles erupted between stone-throwing protesters and police in parts of the capital Nairobi and at least one other city, while a number of people were arrested including senior opposition figures.

It was the first major unrest since President William Ruto took office six months ago after a narrow election victory over Odinga.

The opposition leader had called for the day of action against Ruto’s government over the economic woes faced by ordinary Kenyans and what he claims was a “stolen” election.

And he upped the ante on Monday, calling for weekly protests in the East African economic and political powerhouse.

“Every Monday there will be a strike, there will be a demonstration,” he told supporters in Nairobi. “The war has begun, it will not end until Kenyans get their rights.”

“Are you ready?” the 78-year-old said to cheers of “Yes!” from the crowds.

Earlier, police had unleashed volleys of tear gas and sprays of water against his motorcade near a Nairobi hotel where he had planned to hold a press conference but was forced to leave.

Odinga’s spokesman Dennis Onyango said a police bullet had hit the opposition leader’s vehicle, but it was not possible to independently confirm the claim.

– ‘Where are the promised jobs?’ –
Kenyans are reeling from the rising cost of basic necessities such as fuel, electricity and staple foods, as well as a slump in the value of the shilling and a record drought that has left millions hungry.

From the early morning, police used tear gas against protesters gathered near government offices in the heart of Nairobi and several other areas of the city.

About two dozen people were arrested in downtown Nairobi, mainly young people but also Senate minority leader Stewart Madzayo and his counterpart in the National Assembly Opiyo Wandayi, both members of Odinga’s party.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *