Kenyan police used tear gas to prevent supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga gathering for a memorial service to coincide with the inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta for his second term as president.
Officers sealed off the venue during the planned opposition event in east Nairobi early in the morning and engaged in running battles with people trying to reach the venue.
Dennis Onyango, Mr Odinga’s spokesman, said the opposition leader still intended to try and hold the service that is ostensibly in memory of people killed ruing an opposition rally 10 days ago in the Kenyan capital.
However it is also designed to highlight Mr Odinga’s refusal to recognise Mr Kenyatta’s victory in the controversial October 26 election. The vote was the second time the election was held after Kenya’s supreme court nullified the original election in August. The judges cited “irregularities” and “illegalities” in the vote tallying.
Mr Odinga has launched a so-called national resistance movement to try and force a fresh election.
Police also fired tear gas to disperse Kenyatta supporters trying to enter the Kasarani stadium in north Nairobi (pictured above) where the incumbent president is due to be sworn in for his second term later on Tuesday.
The 60,000-seat stadium was full hours before the ceremony was due to begin and frustrated people outside broke down a gate to try and gain entry.
Analysts say Mr Kenyatta’s speech at the inauguration will be closely watched to see how he plans to end the country’s worst political crisis in a decade and heal the divisions in east Africa’s dominant economy.
Eleven heads of government are attending the inauguration, including Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister.
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