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Despite Accord, Rioting Breaks Out In Kenya

From a concerned New York Times:


Unrest in Kenya as Peace Plan Falters

April 9, 2008

LAMU, Kenya — Riots erupted in Kenya on Tuesday as opposition leaders announced that they were suspending talks with the government over a stalled power-sharing agreement.

According to witnesses, dozens of young men stormed into the streets of Kibera, a sprawling slum in the capital, Nairobi, liting bonfires, ripping up railroad tracks, and throwing rocks at police officers in a scene reminiscent of the post-election violence that convulsed Kenya this winter.

“No cabinet, no peace!” the protesters yelled, referring to the stillborn cabinet that has yet to be formed because of bitter divisions between the government and the opposition.

This was the first major riot since Feb. 28, when rival politicians signed a power sharing agreement that was billed as the only way to end weeks of bloodshed after a disputed presidential election in December…

Now, it seems, some of that same instability has returned. Riots also broke out in Kisumu, in western Kenya, where witnesses said hundreds of angry opposition supporters blocked the road to the airport and stoned cars. There were also reports of unruly protests in several other towns, though police officials could not immediately be reached for comment. By the close of business on Tuesday, the Kenyan currency had dropped against the dollar, signaling the serious damage a few protests can do to an already jittery economy…

It is not clear at this point whether the riots are part of a broader campaign by opposition supporters to pressure the government into giving up important positions, or if they signal a more serious breakdown in the power sharing agreement. Opposition leaders have denied organizing the protests and said they were spontaneous…

This could end up being a campaign issue for Mr. Obama after all.

“No cabinet, no peace!” the protesters yelled…

The slogan featured in the photograph suggests an even more direct threat.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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