Kenyan Opposition Leader Odinga Says Protests On Despite Police Ban
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said protests against President William Ruto’s government over the high cost of living would go ahead on Monday as scheduled despite a police ban.
In a Twitter post, Odinga also called for protests on Thursday. Nairobi’s central business district had a heavy police presence ahead of Monday’s planned gatherings.
Last week, protests in the capital Nairobi and other cities turned violent and one person was killed.
Police arrested more than 200 people, including lawmakers belonging to Odinga’s faction in both houses of parliament.
Kenya’s police chief on Sunday announced a ban on the fresh protests called by Odinga, saying such acts remained illegal.
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“We have been restraining ourselves. We cannot do that any more. We are ready as the police force to maintain peace,” Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome told reporters at a media briefing.
During last week’s protests police used tear gas and water cannons, including at Odinga’s convoy.
Odinga, 78, has called for the twice-weekly protests indefinitely, citing the high cost of staples such as maize flour, which has kept inflation high. He also accuses Ruto of cheating in last year’s presidential election.
Ruto said last week that the protests were hurting businesses and ordinary people.
Odinga, a former prime minister, has lost five elections in a row in his bid to be the president. He challenged the most recent result before the Supreme Court, which upheld Ruto’s victory.
(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo and Ayenat Mersie; Writing by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)
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