Kenyan police on high alert as they brace for more anti-government protests
Police in Kenya were on high alert on Monday as they braced for a new round of anti-government protests, as the opposition called on people to take to the streets every Monday and Thursday over the high cost of living.
Despite a police ban, veteran opposition leader, Raila Odinga on Sunday said Kenyans should join what he described as “the mother of all demonstrations”.
Last week, protests turned violent and saw parts of the capital, Nairobi, paralysed. There were running battles between riot police and demonstrators, both in the city and in opposition strongholds in western Kenya.
More than 200 people, including several senior opposition politicians, were arrested.
Kenyans are facing high prices for food and other basic goods, as well as a plunging local currency, and a record drought that has left millions hungry.
President William Ruto took office more than six months ago after defeating Odinga in an election his rival claims was “stolen”.
He had vowed to improve the lot of ordinary Kenyans.
But he has since removed subsidies for fuel and maize flour — a dietary staple — and it was announced last week that there will be a hike in electricity prices from next month.
Ruto has called on his rival to halt the protest action.
“I am telling Raila Odinga that if he has a problem with me, he should face me and stop terrorising the country,” he said.
Officials said last week’s protests proved costly, with Nairobi losing more than half its daily revenue as businesses stayed closed and people kept away from the city centre.
Ruto is currently on a four-day trip to Germany and Belgium during which he will be meeting with leaders from both countries and the European Union.
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