Friday, January 18, 2008

24 killed in protests - more unrest in Kisumu

Kenya police disperse protesters for third day

By Daniel Wallis and C. Bryson Hull
38 minutes ago
Posted here 11:26 a.m. EST 1/18/2008

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan police killed a protester in the port of Mombasa, the opposition said, and a man died in ethnic violence in the southwest on Friday, the third day of demonstrations against President Mwai Kibaki's re-election.

Police also opened fire in Nairobi's Kibera slum and fired tear gas at Muslim protesters in both the capital and Mombasa.

"The police shot dead a young man who was peacefully demonstrating," opposition legislator Najib Balala told reporters. Local police chief Wilfred Mbithi said he had heard reports of a death but could not confirm them.

Earlier, police in the Indian Ocean port fired tear gas at several hundred protesters marching from the main mosque after Friday prayers.

Police also fired tear gas at around 100 protesters outside Nairobi's central mosque, on the last day of scheduled demonstrations that have seen at least nine people killed, mostly when police opened fire.

In Kibera, an opposition stronghold, Reuters reporter Nick Tattersall said he could hear both pistol and automatic rifle fire followed by women screaming.

"People are really afraid. They were shot yesterday and others were beaten seriously," said Kevin Shihafu, a 20-year-old unemployed resident.

Protesters built a burning barricade in the slum....

...Protests also resumed on Friday in the western opposition stronghold of Kisumu, where more than 300 youths set fire to a fuel tanker to block the road.

Another road was blocked with telephone boxes [ie, booths].

But it was quieter in the city than on previous days when police shot several protesters.

"The police have not shot at us today. It looks like there has been a reversal of orders and a change of tactics. This is a positive and a plus for democracy," said protester Milton Mao.

Raila Odinga's opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), said earlier it would call off street protests after Friday and switch its campaign to small strikes and boycotts of companies run by Kibaki allies. ...

View full story from Reuters.

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