Kenyans took to the streets Monday (Mar. 20) for a day of action called by the opposition despite on a ban on the demonstrations.
They protested the country’s cost of living crisis in Nairobi and other parts of the nation.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who narrowly lost last year’s presidential election to William Ruto, has vowed that the rallies will go ahead.
“I want Kenyans to come out in large numbers and show the displeasure of what is happening in our country,” he told his supporters Sunday (Mar. 19).
He also insisted that protests would proceed as planned and demonstrators would march to State House, the official residence of the president.
Several demonstrators and some opposition legislators have been arrested in protests in the capital.
Nairobi police chief Adamson Bungei said on Sunday that police received requests to hold two demonstrations only late Saturday and early Sunday, when normally three days’ notice is required for public rallies.
“For public safety, neither has been granted,” he said.
Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki also issued a statement on Sunday warning that anyone inciting public disorder or disturbing the peace would be prosecuted.
Roads were quieter than normal in Nairobi on Monday and many businesses were shut ahead of the demonstrations, with some employers telling their staff to work from home.
Kenyans are suffering from surging prices for basic necessities, as well as a sharp drop in the local shilling against the US dollar and a drought that has left millions hungry.
Opposition members blamed the economic situation on president Ruto’s leadership.