NAIROBI - Thousands of opposition supporters have gathered in the Kenyan capital to protest increasing insecurity and to pressure leaders to have open dialogue.
Dressed in orange, dancing and chanting supporters of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s party thronged to Uhuru Park in Nairobi on Monday.
The demonstration coincided with Saba Saba day, which commemorates pro-democracy protests in 1990 when security forces killed more than 100 people.
Security was tight on Monday with police patrolling Nairobi’s streets. Many shops in the central business district closed for the day amid fears that violence could erupt.
As many as 22 people were killed at the coast in the past weekend, which amplified political and ethnic tensions.
Odinga’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has held a series of rallies since June to drum up support for a so-called national dialogue with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee Coalition. CORD wants to discuss methods to tackle the increasing insecurity and the rising cost of living in Kenya, however Kenyatta has rejected the request.
Odinga has lost three bids to become president of Kenya.
His claim that the results of elections in December 2007 were rigged sparked fighting between his ethnic Luo and Kalenjin supporters and rival Kikuyu backers of the winner, Mwai Kibaki.
Kenyatta has been charged with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court as a result of the violence that killed at least 1,100 people and forced another 350,000 to flee their homes. Kenyatta denies the charges.