( AP )- Police fired tear gas and bullets to disperse thousands of protesters in several Kenyan cities at the start of three days of opposition rallies that reignited post-election violence. At least one person was fatally shot by police.Opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose supporters say he was robbed of the presidency through vote rigging in last month's election, called the protests nationwide despite a government ban.
In downtown Nairobi, helmeted riot police on horseback chased away small clusters of protesters from skyscraper-lined streets. Businesses quickly shut as tear gas was fired, and thousands of panicked office workers in suits and high-heels streamed out of downtown on foot.
"I don't want to get caught up in that tension," said research student Julius Rotich who was among the crowds fleeing.
Some people angered by the protests shouted "Raila go home!"
Odinga vowed he would lead the march himself on Nairobi's Uhuru Park downtown, which is ringed by riot police. Speaking earlier to reporters at his party headquarters, Odinga said: "Nothing will stop us from mounting these rallies."
Violence in the wake of Kenya's disputed Dec. 27 vote has left more than 600 people dead and a quarter of a million displaced. The unrest has marred Kenya's image as a stable democratic oasis in a war-ravaged region and damaged its tourist-dependent economy. It has also aggravated long-simmering ethnic tensions and tribal conflicts over land ownership.
The violence had eased since a previous round of opposition protests earlier this month.
National police spokesman Eric Kiraithe had no word on casualties Wednesday. But nurses in the western town of Kisumu said at least one man was shot by police and killed and three wounded there.
In Nairobi, at least three men were taken to a hospital after they were shot and wounded in Kibera slum, one of two in the city where police fired tear gas and bullets to disperse hundreds of protesters.
The opposition was bolstered Tuesday by the election of their candidate for parliament speaker, but Odinga's supporters promised to continue protesting until President Mwai Kibaki and his government acknowledge that his re-election was flawed.
According to official results, Kibaki beat Odinga by 230,000 votes out of around 10 million ballots cast.