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Police ban Azimio protests, warn Kenyans on participation

Police have banned demonstrations called by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, March 26, 2023, Mr Japheth Koome, the Inspector General of Police, clarified Mr Odinga, who leads the Azimio la Umoja one Kenya Alliance, had not been granted permission to hold protests.

“I ask all Kenyans to go on with their business as usual and we are out to ensure more officers are stationed in different parts of the city to deal with any chaos,” Mr. Koome said.

He warned that police officers would not only be intimidated by anyone and instead work hard to ensure the environment is conducive for Kenyans to conduct their business.

Mr Koome accused the opposition of causing chaos, arguing there were other ways in which they could handle their grievances.

After holding what he described as successful protests across the country on March 20, 2023, Mr Odinga, the Azimio la Umoja leader, announced he will lead Kenyans in holding demos around the country on Mondays and Thursdays each week.

These protests, he says, are aimed at pressuring the government to reduce the cost of living and hold a dialogue over electoral reforms.

Mr Odinga further accused President William Ruto of corruption and not fulfilling his pre-election promises.

President Ruto has responded by describing Mr Odinga as an economic terrorist, warning that his actions of causing mayhem will not be tolerated.

Last week’s protests led to a majority of Kenyans shying away from work, destruction of properties, confrontations between thousands of youth and police, and some 270 arrests.

Azimio has already notified the police of their intent to hold demonstrations as is required by the law after former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and ex-Defence minister Euegene Wamalwa presented their notice to Nairobi Central Police Station Officer Commanding Station (OCS) Mr Moses Mutayi.

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