Kenya’s government closed schools in the capital and two other areas this Wednesday as East Africa’s economic powerhouse braced for three days of demonstrations against the cost of living.
With police deployed, streets deserted and schools closed, Kenya was gearing up for another tense day of opposition protests.
The government has promised to respond firmly to any excesses, following deadly violence at previous rallies.
Kenya’s opposition called for the protests in part because of tax hikes passed last month by the government of President William Ruto, who was elected last August pledging to champion the interests of the poor, but has seen the price of basic commodities balloon under his administration.
The Azimio coalition, led by veteran politician Raila Odinga, has called for three consecutive days of demonstrations starting today against the policies of President William Ruto, whom they accuse of exacerbating the rising cost of living in this East African country.
The usually busy streets of Nairobi were empty, security forces were deployed at several points in the city, and many shops kept their curtains down, AFP journalists observed.
This is the third time since early July that the opposition has organized such days of action. During the previous one, on 12 July, rallies were banned by the authorities and were marred by looting and clashes between demonstrators and the police.
At least nine people were killed and more than 300 were arrested. The police, who fired tear gas and live ammunition, were strongly criticised for their crackdown on the demonstrators.