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Kenya braced for further protests
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Kenyan opposition supporters are set to defy a ban on demonstrations for a third day in protest at President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has urged followers to take to the streets for a final day of rallies called by his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

The ODM says seven people were killed on Thursday in a security crackdown.

Police denied Mr Odinga's claim that they were "on a killing spree" and said they were acting "with restraint".

The ODM says street protests would end "for now" after Friday's action.

Spokesman Salim Lone told the BBC that from next week, the movement would switch to other forms of action, such as boycotts of companies run by what he called the government hardliners.

He mentioned specifically the Brookside Dairies, Equity Bank, and City Hopper bus services as possible targets for action.

There is still no formal timetable for the arrival of the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is due in Kenya soon to start a mediation process between Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga.

Following Thursday's violence, Mr Odinga accused police officers of killing seven of his supporters in Nairobi, including the driver of an MP.

He said the government and the police were turning the country into "killing fields of the innocent, executing at will in an unprecedented bloodlust".

Protest ban

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said they were aware that innocent people were being "used by politicians" and therefore they were not using excessive force to disperse them.

"We are dealing with mob psychology... The Kenyan police are acting within the laws of this country," he said.

The seven dead were reported to have been shot in poor neighbourhoods of the capital, Nairobi, as demonstrators tried to make their way to the city centre.

The toll could not be independently corroborated, but police confirmed killing two people in Mathare. Another two were shot dead in the western town of Kisumu.

On the first day of the protests on Wednesday, at least four people were killed.

Public demonstrations were banned by police immediately after Mr Kibaki's swearing-in.

Kenyan authorities say more than 600 people have died in violence since the 27 December election. Mr Odinga has put the death toll at more than 1,000.

Peaceful resolution

The European Parliament unanimously backed a resolution on Thursday calling for the EU to suspend aid to the Kenyan government.

The EU is due to give some 400m euros (£298m) to Kenya over the next five years.

Mr Odinga said the international community should impose sanctions in order to put pressure on Mr Kibaki to agree to a peaceful resolution.

Meanwhile, the UN has launched a $34m (£17.3m) humanitarian appeal for Kenya, to help those affected by the violence following the disputed election.

A quarter of a million people have left their homes and 6,000 have fled to neighbouring Uganda.

Source: BBC



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