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Kenyan police fire tear gas, arrest opposition figures at protest


The nationwide protests are against the rising cost of living in Kenya and the election victory of President William Ruto.

Kenyan police used tear gas and arrested several leading opposition politicians as hundreds of people protested against President William Ruto, the high cost of living and claims of cheating in last year’s election.

Veteran political figure Raila Odinga, who lost to Ruto in the August poll, has pushed for nationwide protests as he tries to exploit discontent with the president.

Among those dissatisfied are some who voted for Ruto and feel he has failed to keep his promises to help the forgotten ‘hustlers’ or working-class Kenyans.

Police in riot gear fired tear gas at hundreds of stone-throwing protesters in the sprawling slum of Kibera in the capital Nairobi, who chanted: “Ruto must go.”

They also used tear gas to disperse protesters trying to gather in the Central Business District, from where Odinga has called for a march to the president’s State House residence, Reuters reporters said.

In the western town of Kisumu, a stronghold of Odinga, police fired tear gas at protesters who had set fires on the road, footage on Citizen TV showed.

At least four MPs were arrested during protests in Nairobi, including minority leaders from the National Assembly and Senate, Odinga spokesman Dennis Onyango said.

Nairobi Police Chief Adamson Bungei told reporters he would have details of the arrests later in the day.

Despite Ruto’s promises to lower the cost of living since he took office in September, inflation in East Africa’s economic powerhouse has remained high, rising to 9.2 percent in February.

Ruto has said his government is laying the foundations for a healthier economy, including by reducing reliance on borrowing.

Odinga, who has lost five presidential elections, sees the demonstration as an opportunity to protest the August vote, which he says was tainted by fraud.

Last year he challenged the results in the Supreme Court, but the court upheld Ruto’s victory and little of the violence that marred the 2007 and 2017 elections.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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