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Protests in Kenya as opposition marks 'Day of Rage'

Former prime minister's supporters block key roads and burn tires demanding reform of the election commission.

Day of Rage

'Day of Rage' protests
  • The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has organised Mondays's protest
  • It's led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga
  • Odinga has accused Kenya's electoral body, the IEBC, of bias towards the president
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta beat Odinga in a result disputed by the opposition
  • Violence erupted after the 2007 elections with about 1,200 people killed and 600,000 forced from their homes

Protesters in Kenya have blocked key roads and set fire to tires in a 'Day of Rage' aimed at overhauling the country's election commission, which they allege is biased towards the president.

One man was killed and six others injured on Monday when Kenyan police opened fire on an anti-government rally in the western city of Kisumu, witnesses said.

A bullet wound was visible on the corpse, which was laid outside a hospital morgue by protesters, who said he was hit when police opened fire.

The protesters, many of them supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga's Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), had blocked roads in Migori early on Monday, setting the scene for potential confrontation with government forces.

"This is not fair. We cannot have police shooting people every other time they are exercising their rights, this man has been shot dead while protesting," protester Michael Omondi told the AFP news agency.

According to images posted on Twitter, business and schools were also shut and transport along the busy Sirare-Kisii highway - linking Kenya with neighbouring Tanzania - had been blocked.

Many Kenyans elsewhere took to Twitter to protest against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with the hashtag #IEBCMustGo trending in the country.

Kenya is to hold general elections in 15 months and the main opposition leaders have threatened to boycott them if the IEBC is not reformed.

On Friday, Kenyatta reiterated his call for CORD to end the protests, saying parliament's legal committee was ready to start hearing public views on how to reform the electoral authority.

"We want dialogue like yesterday but it must be held within the confines of the law. Dialogue is not about going to the streets or meeting in tea rooms," Kenyatta's office quoted him saying.

CORD wants the electoral commission scrapped. Its electronic vote results transmission system collapsed during the 2013 election that brought President Uhuru Kenyatta to power, beating Odinga, a result disputed by the opposition.

The next presidential and parliamentary polls in east Africa's largest economy are not due until August 2017 but politicians are already trying to galvanise supporters.

But there are fears of a repeat of violence that erupted after the 2007 elections. About 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 forced to flee their homes.

Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, were on opposing sides in 2007 but, in 2013, they united in a coalition.

They were both charged by the Geneva-based International Criminal Court (ICC) with fomenting the post-election violence.

Both denied the charges, which were later dropped by the ICC.

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