Police in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Monday fired tear gas at opposition leaders and their supporters, who took to the streets to protest against the country’s electoral body.
Former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, ex-Vice President, Kalonzo Musyoka, and former Foreign Affairs Minister, Moses Wetangula, led the protests which turned violent outside the electoral body’s offices.
The opposition leaders are demanding the resignation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which supervises next year’s elections. They accuse it of allegedly favoring the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“For free and fair election, Kenyans don’t trust IEBC, IEBC must go!” read a banner waved by a protester.
More police officers had been deployed to the IEBC offices ahead of the planned protests. The officers were said to have been told not to allow any protester near the premises.
The protesters caused traffic gridlock in the city center and they engaged police in running battles.
Local reports say rowdy youths infiltrated the protests that centered around the IEBC headquarters.
The protesters broke some vehicles’ side mirrors while some vehicles on their way to the city center were forced to use alternative routes.
Some protesters marched to other parts of Nairobi, forcing the closure of some supermarkets.
Photos posted on social media show Odinga’s vehicle was seemingly hit with a dent left on the windscreen.
Similar protests were seen in Nairobi last Monday, with police using tear gas and water canon.
“I don’t know how long these anti-IEBC protests will last… It’s painful,” a trader in Nairobi said.
Demonstrations also took place in some towns in the East African nation.
Joint security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters in Kisii and Kisumu in western Kenya and Machakos in eastern Kenya, and driven away some looters who took advantage of the chaos.
Several protesters were injured with reports saying some were beaten by the police.
Odinga earlier accused the government and the IEBC of being opposed to reforms proposed by the opposition for a “democratic electoral system”, arguing the changes reflected the will of members of the public.
The opposition leaders have vowed to continue the anti-IEBC protests. Enditem