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Fiirst Day of ODM Scheduled Protests Brings More Violence

A large group of people who alleged a mob was trying to loot them, gathered to watch as police moved in to fend the others off. © Anne Holmes

At around 3 p.m. two leading members of opposition leader Raila Odinga’s party entered downtown Nairobi. Their presence attracted a small crowd of people who began following them. Riot police immediately shot tear gas into the crowd to disperse people and drove through town ordering everyone to go home. Most shops closed and offices emptied of employees as riot police chased small gatherings about town and often arbitrarily sent tear gas canisters into the air. There was a report of one womn carrying a baby being hit on the head with a tear gas can and falling to the ground. But things remained fairly non-violent on the part of civilians, and downtown Nairobi was a virtual ghost town. Elsewhere, the situation was brought to a boiling point.

I was in Nairobi’s most notorious slum, Mathare, early this evening where a mob nearly left one man beaten to death, and blocked passage through the neighborhood, throwing rocks and brandishing machetes. Police came in behind us just as we were arriving to disperse the crowds, but as we were leaving, the mob had reappeared at the top of the hill. Police used tear gas, beat men with sticks, and fired live ammunition, though to my knowledge no one was hit by bullets. Nairobi’s slums are stricken with extreme poverty and it is difficult to see how the violence that has erupted has anything to do with the stolen election. Rather, I would venture to guess that discontent has festered for so long that tempers have flared easily in the poorest parts of the capital as anger has spread throughout the nation over the rigged elections in December.

People ran in panic as police fired tear gas. © Anne Holmes

Police fired tear gas into a side street where a mob who attacked one of my colleagues receded. © Anne Holmes

Residents of Mathare peer out from a house, one brandishing a stone. © Anne Holmes

Police hit a man who came out from the mob once things had calmed down. © Anne Holmes

Then they arrested him. © Anne Holmes

Then they threw him in a truck, beat him, and eventually let him go. © Anne Holmes

Elsewhere, in Kibera, there was tension and riot police went in, though by the time I arrived, the situation had stabalized. Two people were reported killed. © Anne Holmes

Here a man shows an empty bullet shell, proof that police had used live ammunition to disperse the crowds. © Anne Holmes


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  5. will the human race ever learn?

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