By Magdalene Mukami
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - Protesters across Kenya on Monday morning blocked major roads across the country with burning tires and stones calling for Kenya’s electoral body to be disbanded and a new one set up to oversee next year’s general election.
Running battles between opposition supporters and police forces took place Monday in the towns of Kisumu and Kakamega in western Kenya.
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) supporters acting on the orders of their leader former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga also blocked major highways in western Kenya with burning tires and rocks.
"No IEBC, No IEBC, IEBC must go, IEBC must go, we are not afraid of teargas," protesters could be heard chanting, referring to Kenya’s electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
As of 12 p.m. East African time (1000GMT), traffic was still crippled in the area.
In the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, residents were treated to similar scenes as protests, which have been held by members of the opposition on a nearly weekly basis for the past five weeks, kicked off.
Major highways leading to Nairobi were closed as police tried to remove burning tires and rocks from the road. Water cannons have been set up to prevent demonstrators from accessing the central business district.
Police had on Sunday said that they would use any means possible, including lethal force to stop the protests calling them illegal as per a ruling by a Kenyan court over the weekend.
On Monday morning, the country’s High Court refused to stop CORD protests and marches and called on police to offer security for the protesters and maintain law and order.
Business premises in the Kenyan capital and around the country remained closed Monday for fear of looting, which has occurred in past protests.
The Kenyan opposition has called for dialogue over the reforming of the electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The electoral body has been accused of planning to rig next year’s elections in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Four people have been killed since the weekly protests began.