US urges restraint and respect for peaceful protests in Kenya

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The United States has called for all sides to show restraint and respect for peaceful demonstrations in Kenya, as opposition protests turned violent in defiance of a ban.

The State Department spokesperson, Vedant Patel, urged political leaders, protesters, and all parties to refrain from violence and rhetoric that could incite further violence.

Patel also called on government security forces to act with restraint while protecting public safety and property.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been calling for protests every Monday and Tuesday, accusing President William Ruto of stealing last year’s election and failing to control the surging cost of living.

Since the demonstrations began last week, police have used tear gas and a water cannon to disperse protesters, with at least two people reported dead.

The United States has long considered Kenya a key partner in Africa and has praised the country’s commitment to democracy in recent years.

This week, Kenya is invited to a summit of democracies led by US President Joe Biden, which aims to counter growing authoritarianism.