Kenya: At Least One Dead in Opposition Protests Against Electoral Body

Kenya opposition protests.
Police officers pass burning tyres during opposition protests in Kisumu, Kenya, June 6. At least one person was killed during the demonstrations, which are calling for the reform of the country's electoral commission. AFP/Getty Images

At least one person was killed during opposition protests in western Kenya on Monday.

Opposition protesters gathered in the western city of Kisumu and attempted to march on the local officer of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Reuters reported . Police fired into the air to disperse the crowd and one protester was shot dead. Protesters used burning tyres to block roads as they called for members of the commission to resign ahead of elections in 2017.

Raila Odinga, the leader of Kenya's main opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), led similar demonstrations in the capital Nairobi. Odinga's spokesman Dennis Onyango claimed that two people were killed in Kisumu, but hospital officials only confirmed one death.

Supporters of the opposition have been turning out every Monday in protest against the IEBC for several weeks, accusing it of pro-government bias. Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome warned protesters ahead of Monday's demonstrations that the police would use lethal force if necessary to stop the rallies.

Three people died during similar protests in western Kenya in May. Police said that two were shot in self-defense and a third died after sustaining a head injury while running from tear gas.