Kenya’s government has banned protests in three city centres, citing lawlessness during opposition rallies against the electoral commission before a scheduled presidential vote rerun. The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has called for daily protests next week to keep up pressure on election officials, after his refusal to take part in the 26 October poll plunged the country into uncertainty. “Due to the clear, present and imminent danger of breach of peace, the government notifies the public that, for the time being, we will not allow demonstrations within the central business districts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu,” said the security minister, Fred Matiangi. “The inspector general of police has been advised accordingly.” Hundreds of opposition supporters have marched in recent weeks, sometimes burning tyres and clashing with police who have used teargas to disperse crowds.
Though relatively small, the protests have been disruptive, forcing shops to close and deterring some people from visiting city centres on demonstration days. There have also been incidents of pickpocketing and muggings on the edges of the protests.
Matiangi said the protests had resulted in “attacks on police stations, attacks on police officers occasioning grievous bodily harm, serious disruption of normal business, assault on innocent civilians, destruction and looting of property”, and threatened legal action.