As rallies last week turned into rioting, Kenya’s police commander announced Sunday that new opposition demonstrations scheduled for Monday would be prohibited.
“We will not allow violent demonstrations,” Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome told reporters. “The demonstrations they plan Monday are illegal and will not be allowed.”
Raila Odinga, a seasoned opposition leader, has urged citizens to demonstrate over Kenya‘s rising cost of living between Monday and Thursday.
The rallies on last Monday, which were also not allowed by the police, turned violent when riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse people who were throwing rocks and lighting tires on fire.
Police gunfire claimed the life of a university student, and ongoing clashes in Nairobi and opposition strongholds in western Kenya injured 31 officers.
In addition to numerous prominent opposition lawmakers being detained, more over 200 individuals were also arrested. Odinga’s own convoy was also attacked with tear gas and water cannons.
“You all saw what happened last week and we won’t allow that to happen again where hooligans come to town to loot and destroy people’s property and businesses,” Koome said.
Since President William Ruto assumed office six months ago after defeating Odinga in an election his challenger alleges was “stolen,” it was the first such act of political violence.
Many Kenyans are struggling to put food on the table as a result of high prices for necessities, a falling kwacha, a historic drought that has left millions hungry, and high prices for basic products.
Ruto has urged the opposition leader to put an end to the demonstrations before he departs the country on Sunday for a vacation to Europe.
“I am telling Raila Odinga that if he has a problem with me, he should face me and stop terrorising the country,” he said Thursday.
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