Kenyan police clashed with stone-throwing demonstrators in a Nairobi slum on Friday, resorting to the use of tear gas and rubber bullets.
Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga had called for three days of demonstrations this week; however, by Thursday, the appetite for protests had significantly diminished in most parts of the country, leading to the reopening of schools and shops.
In Nairobi’s Kibera slum, an opposition stronghold, clashes broke out on Friday between police and protesters wielding rocks and makeshift weapons. Some demonstrators also set fire to tires and used them as barricades, as observed by media.
In contrast to earlier demonstrations, no violence was reported elsewhere, as the recent protests appeared to be relatively peaceful. According to figures shared by the government and hospitals, previous protests have led to 20 deaths since March.
Since last year, Kenyans have been grappling with high inflation, and earlier in the day, a crowd assembled in Kibera for a peaceful protest, expressing their discontent by banging pots and pans and chanting anti-government slogans about the soaring cost of living.
However, the situation took a turn for the worse later, with demonstrators shouting “today is the final day” as they engaged in confrontations with the police, who have faced accusations from rights campaigners of using excessive force.
Odinga called off demonstrations in April and May when President William Ruto agreed to engage in dialogue, but the talks ultimately broke down.
Ruto has called for an end to the protests and cautioned this week that those attempting to “cause mayhem” would encounter a firm response from the police.
Odinga asserts that Ruto’s government is illegitimate and holds responsibility for the cost-of-living crisis.
The interior ministry stated late Thursday that the country has largely returned to normalcy, except for a few incidents of looting and disturbances caused by small groups of lawbreakers.