One killed, six injured in Kenya protests, police say

Supporters of Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga of the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) One Kenya Alliance, gather as they participate in a nationwide protest over cost of living and President William Ruto's government in Mathare settlement of Nairobi, Kenya March 20, 2023. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A university student in Kenya was killed and six police officers injured in protests on Monday against President William Ruto's government over high living costs, police said.

Protesters took to the streets of the capital, Nairobi, and several other cities in response to a call for demonstrations by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Some lit fires in the streets and threw rocks at police. Police fired tear gas and water cannons, including at Odinga's convoy as he addressed supporters from the sunroof of his car.

The person killed, a student at Maseno University in western Kenya, was shot in the neck by the police when officers fired live rounds after running out of tear gas canisters and blank rounds, according to a police report seen by Reuters on Tuesday. A spokesperson for Kenya's National Police Service was not immediately available for comment.

The report said the officers were confronting students who had set fires in the road and vandalised local businesses.

Odinga, 78, cited the high cost of staples such as maize flour, which have kept inflation high, in calling for protests. He also accuses Ruto of cheating in last year's presidential election, in which Odinga finished runner-up.

Odinga challenged the result last year before the Supreme Court, which upheld Ruto's victory.

At least four members of parliament were arrested during the protests. They were released on bail and will appear in court on Thursday to answer charges of unlawful assembly, their lawyer, Danstan Omari, told Reuters.

Odinga called on Monday for the protests to be repeated weekly.

(Writing by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Aaron Ross and Gerry Doyle)

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