Violence erupts as Kenyan opposition attempts protests
( dpa ) - Men, women and children bearing machetes and clubs chanted opposition slogans in the slums of the Kenyan capital Nairobi Thursday as a second day of protests over disputed presidential election polls got underway.
Protestors in Mathare slum, unable to break a police barrier to reach the downtown rally called by the opposition, burned tires and furniture as police stood on guard nearby with their fingers on triggers.
Witnesses said police fired live rounds into the disgruntled crowds, killing at least two people in a continuing cycle of violence that has gripped the usually peaceful East African country.
"Police came and shot, and took the bodies. What had they come to do? Kill and go? They are supposed to protect us," said Awatt Awatt, an opposition supporter.
The BBC reported two people were shot in Kibera, East Africa's largest slum and clashes erupted in the western town of Kisumu.
Kenya's opposition vowed to defy a ban on rallies Thursday and urged its supporters to demonstrate for three days against the disputed presidential election results that brought President Mwai Kibaki back to power for a second term.
A large police force was on the streets of Nairobi Thursday morning, a day after at least three people were killed in the countrywide protests.
"We are not going to change the situation unless we resist. Liberation has never come on a silver platter," said Rono Kipchirchir, tightly clutching a large wooden club.
Officers had blocked off central Nairobi's Uhuru Park, where the opposition has tried to demonstrate in vain.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), led by the fiery Raila Odinga, charged Kibaki with stealing the win in last month's election and has pledged not to cease mass action until he admits that claim.
International election observers also called the election flawed.
Police sealed protestors in their slums in the capital as the first of three days of rallies kicked off Wednesday. Officers lobbed tear gas at even the smallest crowds in the coastal town of Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu, an ODM stronghold.
ODM members gathered in downtown Nairobi Wednesday and were met by police firing tear gas canisters at them outside two different hotels.
The alleged irregularities in the vote have sparked unrest across the country with at least 600 people killed and about 250,000 displaced in events that mark a disturbing change in Kenya.
While beset by corruption and poverty, Kenya has seen steady economic growth to become the regional powerhouse and is viewed as an anchor of stability in a volatile region.