At least five people were killed Friday as Kenyan police tried to disperse supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga in ongoing tensions over disputed elections.
Police fired tear gas and water cannons to try to stop supporters of Odinga from reaching Nairobi’s center, where the opposition leader was to give a speech.
Police had warned earlier this week that they would not allow Odinga, returning from speaking engagements abroad, to address supporters. Opposition lawmakers, meanwhile, encouraged people to turn out.
Police said five people were stoned to death by angry mobs after they had been caught stealing, but several witnesses said police shot them. Police denied that any live rounds had been used.
Witnesses also described protesters throwing stones at police.
“This is a reckless, insensitive and primitive response to a crisis Uhuru Kenyatta himself has created,” Odinga said in a statement that condemned attacks on his supporters.
Odinga had just returned from speaking in the United States and Britain about Kenya’s political turmoil.
The opposition leader won an unprecedented court victory overturning the result of the August 8 presidential poll and nullifying President Kenyatta’s re-election amid claims of irregularities. Odinga boycotted the new vote, claiming election reforms had not been made.
Kenyatta’s win in the new vote is again being challenged at the Supreme Court with claims of irregularities.
Source: Voice of America