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Kenyans gather for opposition rally, day after attacks

Monday July 07 2014
PIX

A section of Cord supporters heading to Uhuru Park for the 'Saba Saba' rally on July 7, 2014. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

By AFP

Kenyans have turned up for an anti-government demonstration at Uhuru Park in Nairobi amid heavy police presence on Monday.

Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has organised the rally to address what he says are major government failures including worsening crime and insecurity, rising living costs, impunity, corruption and allegations of ethnic favouritism in government appointments.

Police are searching and screening supporters as they enter the park, an AFP reporter said. (READ: Tight security ahead of Saba Saba rally)

The rally, the culmination of a series of countrywide demonstrations, is held on the July 7 anniversary of protests for multi-party democracy in the 1990s, a date heavy with symbolism and known commonly as Saba-Saba.

TWIN ATTACKS

Police say they have deployed 15,000 officers to ensure the rally passes off peacefully even as cases of insecurity increase at the Coast.

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The Shabaab have claimed twin attacks in Lamu and Tana Delta on Saturday night where more than 20 people were killed. (READ: Al Shabaab claim responsibility for new attacks in Lamu)

Police have blamed the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), a group that campaigns for independence of the coastal region.

Some broadcasters have been accused of issuing hate speech whipping up ethnic divisions ahead of the Saba Saba rally, the national communication authority said in a statement in newspapers on Monday.

"Some broadcast stations are taking advantage of the prevailing political situation in the country to air content containing hate speech," it said, warning individuals that "incitement to violence and advocacy of hatred" on social media is a crime.

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