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Kenyan police clash with anti-government protesters

Kenyan riot police fire a tear gas grenade during clashes with rock-throwing....   -  
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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


The Kenyan police on Tuesday used tear gas to disperse a delegation of opposition politicians who wanted to visit the president's office in the capital Nairobi, in a day of anti-government protests without major incident.

Elected officials from the opposition Azimio coalition wanted to petition about the "unacceptably high" cost of food, fuel, and electricity.

After being denied access to the presidential building, they were dispersed with tear gas, according to a video shot by local media.

After a one-month break, the historic opponent Raila Odinga called for a resumption on Tuesday of the "maandamano" (demonstrations) against President William Ruto, whom he accuses of "stealing" the August 2022 presidential election and of being unable to curb the current price hike.

A previous series of protests in late March led to clashes, looting, and vandalism. Three people, including a policeman, were killed during these rallies banned by the authorities.

Tuesday morning was generally calm in the country, with some isolated clashes and incidents.

In some slums on the outskirts of Nairobi, scuffles broke out between police and youths who blocked streets with burning tires.

An empty bus and a goods truck were also set on fire in the south of the capital.

In Kisumu, an Odinga stronghold in the west, roads were blocked with burning tires and rocks.

On Sunday, Nairobi regional police commander Adamson Bungei announced a ban on the protests, as previous ones had been "marred by violence".

The days of action had been suspended to allow for discussions between the two sides, but the process has stalled, notably over the composition of the various delegations.

Despite the rejection of his appeal by the Supreme Court, Raila Odinga, who was running for the fifth time, is still contesting the results of last year's presidential election, one of the closest in the country's history.

Elected as the champion of the "resourceful" poor, William Ruto has since faced criticism, especially after removing costly subsidies on fuel and maize meal, the prices of which have risen in the wake of the election.

Kenya, the economic powerhouse of East Africa, is facing skyrocketing inflation, which reached 9.2 per cent year-on-year in February. Food prices alone rose by 13.3%.

The country is also battling a depreciating Kenyan shilling and an unprecedented drought in parts of the country.

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