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Kenya opposition protest calls largely ignored but violence continues

Injured person in Kenyan hospital   -  
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Isolated clashes between police and stone-throwing demonstrators flared in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Thursday despite most people largely ignoring a call by the opposition to boost anti-government protests.

Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga called for three days of demonstrations this week resulting in six deaths and dozens injured and putting pressure on local hospitals. 

Alex Ochieng, administrator at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital in Kisumu, said: "Yesterday we received a total of 18 patients. One with a deep cut wound from Kondele, another with tear gas canister injury on the ear and that was from Chulaimbo, the other sixteen were gunshot injuries.

"Three were in critical condition and they were taken to theatre. One died while being attended to at the theatre. So far we have taken five to the theatre for operations and six are still on the line for theatre. "

Since March, 20 people have died in the demonstrations, called by Odinga, who says President William Ruto's government is illegitimate and responsible for a cost-of-living crisis

Some of the injured say they were caught up in the protests by accident.    

Erick Otieno is a resident of Kisumu and says he was beaten by police.   

"I was passing at Kondele flyover and met with the police officers beating and throwing tear gas at people," he explained.

"But I was not demonstrating. I was just passing to go back to my house in Nyamasaria and they just started beating me, they beat my eye and another hit the back of my head using the back of his G3 gun and they wanted to break my hands, my teeth and my other working knee."

The police response to the demonstrations has sparked outrage from rights groups, with Amnesty condemning the use of excessive force.

The protests have increased pressure on a population already struggling with galloping inflation.

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