Kenya gov’t bans protests from city centers amid election standoff

Riot police chase opposition protesters in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, October 2, 2017. (File photo by AP)
Updated 12 October 2017
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Kenya gov’t bans protests from city centers amid election standoff

NAIROBI: Kenya announced a ban on Thursday on demonstrations in the central business districts of key cities including Nairobi amid a deepening stand-off between the ruling party and the opposition over a presidential election re-run.
Internal Security Minister Fred Matiang’i said protesters who violated the ban in Nairobi, the western city of Kisumu and the coastal city of Mombasa would be held personally liable for any damage.
The three cities are strongholds of opposition support, and have seen repeated confrontations between riot police and opposition supporters in recent weeks.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga were due to go to the polls in a repeat presidential election on Oct. 26, after the Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta’s win in Aug. 8 polls over procedural irregularities.
But this week Odinga announced he was withdrawing from the race, throwing the East African nation into political turmoil. Kenya is a regional and trade gateway and a key Western ally in a region roiled by conflict.
On Wednesday, the election board said the polls would be held anyway, and all eight of the original presidential candidates would be on the ballot. In August, only Odinga and Kenyatta polled more than one percent.
Odinga’s opposition alliance called for demonstrations demanding electoral reforms and new elections, raising fears of further clashes between his supporters and police.
A Kenya rights group said this week that at least 37 people were killed in protests immediately following the Aug. 8 poll. Most were killed by police.


Trump briefed on missile strike in Saudi Arabia: White House

Updated 20 min 26 sec ago
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Trump briefed on missile strike in Saudi Arabia: White House

  • White House official said they are closely monitoring the situation
  • Houthi militants said they attacked a power station in Saudi Jizan province

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has been briefed about a missile strike on Saudi Arabia, the White House said Thursday, after Houthi militia claimed an attack on a power station in the kingdom’s south.
“The president has been briefed on the reports of a missile strike in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies.”
There was no immediate confirmation of the attack from Saudi authorities.
Late Wednesday, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militants said they struck a power station in southern Jizan province, according to the group’s Al-Masirah TV.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Saudi-led military coalition fighting the militia said a Houthi drone was intercepted over Yemeni airspace.
Last week, a Houthi missile attack on the international airport in southern Abha city left 26 civilians wounded, drawing promises of “stern action” from the coalition.
Human Rights Watch denounced last week’s strike as an apparent “war crime,” urging the Houthis to immediately stop all attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.
The attacks come amid heightened regional tensions with Iran, which Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused of arming the militia with sophisticated weapons. Tehran denies the charge.
Following recent Houthi attacks, Saudi state media has reported the coalition was intensifying its air raids on the militia’s positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah and the Houthi-held capital Sanaa.
The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the militants closed in on his last remaining territory in and around second city Aden.
The conflict has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 24 million Yemenis — more than two-thirds of the population — in need of aid.