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13 October 2017, 11:35 | Erica Roy
Raila Odinga salutes supporters during a past rally in Nairobi
In western Kisumu, a stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga that has been a hotspot for demonstrations, protesters blocked key roads and set piles of tyres on fire.
Hundreds of opposition supporters took to the streets of Kenya's main cities Friday in defiance of a government ban on protests as the country is gripped by uncertainty over its presidential election.
The government has mobilized security forces in Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi to keep in check opposition supporters despite the ban on such demonstrations. In Kisumu city, local television showed running battles with stone-throwing youth.
In Nairobi, opposition legislators were repeatedly tear gassed as they tried to drive into the city centre.
The government on Thursday banned the protests, citing "imminent danger of breach of peace".
"This ban, announced just two weeks ahead of a fraught repeat presidential election, is likely to become a basis for heavy-handed police crackdowns", said Michelle Kagari, a deputy regional director with Amnesty International.
He supported protesters' right to demonstrate, he said, but has so far stopped short of calling people onto the streets himself.
The election laws changes were ordered by the Supreme Court, which identified a lacuna it said needed to be filled, when it annulled the August 8 elections citing irregularities. It is set for October 26.
Opposition supporters have been holding regular protests in the three cities, which have resulted in looting and violent clashes with police.
The Mombasa demonstrations were largely peaceful and were led by grassroots leaders to push for reforms required to enhance fairness and transparency in the electoral process.
"If it goes ahead it is not an election, it is a selection", Odinga told Reuters in an interview during a visit to London.
Kenyan Opposition Leader Raila Odinga has shocked the country by withdrawing his candidacy for a fresh presidential election ordered by the Supreme Court, saying the election commission had not made changes to avoid the "irregularities and illegalities" cited in the nullified August vote.
In 2013, Kenyatta defeated Odinga in a hotly contested election. On Friday, Kenyatta received the Parliament-approved amendments.
The National Assembly and the Senate have already passed the Electoral Bills and all eyes are now on President Uhuru to assent to them into Law.
He said: "that law also goes on to say that if one of the candidates dies or pulls out, the election commission is obligated to carry out fresh nominations".
Many observers agreed the 2007 election was deeply flawed, and it triggered politically motivated tribal violence that left more than 1,100 dead.
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