Kenyan opposition party supporters took to the streets on Tuesday to resume their anti-government protests against skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, including food and fuel, in the country.
The peaceful protest of thousands of supporters of the opposition Azimio la Umoja party or One Kenya Alliance Party quickly turned violent, resulting in running battles between police and protesters.
Vehicles, including a long-distance trailer, were burnt along major highways leading to the city center in the capital Nairobi, and property was looted.
Protesters also blocked major roads and set tires on fire, causing traffic snarl-ups in several parts of the city.
Several people were injured during clashes with police, who detained many of them on various charges.
The opposition party had called for the protest to push the government to address the soaring prices of essential commodities, including food and fuel.
The protests resumed after a month-long hiatus following talks between the opposition and ruling Kenya Kwanza Coalition government broke down.
The protests are part of a broader campaign by the opposition to hold the government accountable for the worsening economic condition of the people in the East African country.
Leading the protest, opposition leader Raila Odinga accused the government of failing to address the plight of ordinary citizens, who are struggling to make ends meet due to inflation and unemployment.
The government, for its part, accused the opposition of inciting violence and disrupting public order.
The police used tear gas to disperse opposition lawmakers who went to present their petition to the President’s Office with their supporters.
Senator Edwin Sifuna, who was among the opposition lawmakers, said, “My colleagues and I have been teargassed outside the Office of the President as we marched peacefully to deliver the people’s petition.”
In a statement in March, the Interior Ministry had warned that it would not tolerate any act of lawlessness and that those found culpable would face the full force of the law. The ministry issued the statement after protesters burned down a church and a mosque in the city.
Protests are likely to escalate in the coming days, with the opposition vowing to continue their push for economic reforms by holding bi-weekly protests on Mondays and Thursdays.
The government, on the other hand, has reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the country’s economic challenges but has called for calm and dialogue rather than protests.
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