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Police teargas Kenyan vote protesters, crowds gather in cities

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Police teargas Kenyan vote protesters, crowds gather in cities

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NAIROBI (Reuters) – Police fired teargas at opposition activists in Kenya’s capital on Friday as demonstrators, who also held protests in three other cities, called for the sacking of election board officials involved in August’s cancelled presidential vote. Crowds gathered in Nairobi, the western opposition stronghold of Kisumu and the port of Mombasa for the second time this week. Last month, Kenya’s Supreme Court voided the Aug. 8 presidential election, citing irregularities, but did not criticise any specific individual at the election board. President Uhuru Kenyatta, who officially won by 1.4 million votes only to have his victory annulled, has accused the Supreme Court of bringing the country close to “judicial chaos”. Opposition leader Raila Odinga and his supporters have turned their ire on the election board for its role in the cancelled poll. With three weeks to go until a scheduled re-run of the vote, politicians from both sides have traded insults and accusations, raising fears of further turmoil in the regional economic and transport hub. The opposition is threatening to boycott the Oct. 26 re-run if election board officials are not removed and if parliament passes a proposed amendment to the election law that could prevent the Supreme Court from annulling the results on procedural grounds again. Parliamentarians are due to return from recess next week and may pass the bill then, an action likely to spark further protests from the opposition. Earlier on Friday, the Nairobi county police commander said people would be allowed to protest, but anyone who tried to destroy property would “be dealt with firmly”.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Richard Balmforth; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens)
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