At least one protester was killed and more than 20 others injured during CORD protests which turned violent in Kisumu on Monday, witnesses have said.
The protests hitting several cities and towns in Kenya are the sixth held on Monday in the past weeks. The opposition is demanding the country’s electoral body running next year’s general elections be dissolved.
Witnesses said the man was shot dead as protesters were marching towards the electoral body’s offices in Kisumu. There were running battles in the city between the protesters and anti-riot police.
A senior administrator at a local hospital said the deceased had a gunshot wound in the chest while five others were critically injured.
The demonstrators blocked key roads and set fire on tyres during the weekly protests against the election commission, which they allege is corrupt and biased in favor of the government.
Local police commanders have denied receiving death reports. No further information from the police is immediately known.
Police sources said they were forced to intervene when some protesters threw stones at two major supermarkets, shattering glass.
Witnesses said the protesters then moved in to loot property at one supermarket while at another supermarket they were repulsed by police.
Scuffle erupted when a rowdy group joined peaceful opposition protesters and tried to gain entry into the electoral body’s offices.
Calm was however reported in many other parts of the country including Mombasa, where Muslim opposition supporters started observing the Holy Month of Ramadan.
The city center of the capital Nairobi remained largely peaceful with heavy police presence. But in Nairobi’s Kibera and Mathare slums, where some slum protesters threw stones at vehicles, forcing motorists to look for alternative routes.
The High Court earlier declined to stop the protests but asked police to provide security and ensure public safety.
In Nairobi, opposition leaders and their supporters held a peaceful demonstration in the city center.
The protesters formed a human shield at Anniversary Towers, the head office of the electoral commission, to prevent anyone from moving in as directed by the court.
Former Lands Minister and a member of the opposition coalition, James Orengo, said similar protests will be held in two weeks if the government declined to hold talks on the composition of the electoral body but added the opposition supporters will maintain peace.
The police have used teargas and high-powered water cannon at protesters in protests in the past weeks. There has been criticism of police brutality as four protesters had been killed in previous protests in Siaya and Kisumu in western Kenya.
The protests had also seen looting and destruction of property, a situation that forced may businesses to close for fear of further violence.