Kenyan police arrest opposition figures amid protests

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On Monday, Kenyan police used tear gas and arrested at least three opposition leaders and several protesters in Nairobi for staging unauthorised demonstrations.

Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in Nairobi, calling on President William Ruto to resign in response to rising living costs and allegations of fraud in his election. Protesters hurled rocks at riot police outside the capital’s government offices, and tyres were set ablaze on the streets.

According to the Associated Press, police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, preventing them from reaching most of the designated meeting points in the central business district.

Senate minority leader Stewart Madzayo, as well as members of parliament Opiyo Wandati and Amina Mnyazi, were arrested and will be released after posting bail, according to Nairobi police.

On Sunday, Police Chief Adamson Bungei stated that police had received requests to hold two demonstrations late Saturday and early Sunday, despite the fact that public rallies normally require three days’ notice. As a result, the requests were denied “for the sake of public safety.”

Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki had previously warned that anyone inciting public disorder or disturbing the peace would face criminal charges.

Raila Odinga, the leader of the opposition, insisted that the protests would take place as planned, with demonstrators marching to the State House, the president’s official residence. Odinga stated that Kenyan citizens have a constitutional right to demonstrate and that the police’s role is to protect them after they issue a notification in advance, according to local media.

Odinga, who was running for president for the fifth time, is contesting the August election in which he was defeated by Ruto by around 233,000 votes, one of the country’s narrowest margins in history. Due to a lack of evidence, his Supreme Court appeal to overturn Ruto’s victory was denied.

Several businesses were forced to close as a result of the protests in the East African country, whose economy is suffering from rising prices and a sharp drop in the local shilling against the US dollar. A historic drought has also hit the country’s north, leaving millions of people hungry.