Shocking photos show Kenyan police brutally beating protesters in central Nairobi

Kenyan police officers are responding to stone-throwing crowds in central Nairobi with a shocking level of brutality as citizens protest an election oversight body they say is biased and should be scrapped.

This photo in particular has shocked international observers:

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A Kenyan riot police officer repeatedly kicked a protester who lay in the street after tripping while trying to flee during a protest in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, on Monday.
source
Ben Curtis/AP

Multiple reports indicate that the protester died shortly after he was savagely beaten by the riot police.

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Ben Curtis/AP

Video has also emerged of the incident:

Police beat protestersrallying against election oversight body in Nairobi https://t.co/du48hXZ7N7https://t.co/eQ6u6YxW6J

https://t.co/du48hXZ7N7https://t.co/eQ6u6YxW6JMay 16,2016

Officers armed with batons confronted hundreds of protesters outside the offices of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the third clash over the issue in less than a month. The opposition leader said more protests would follow.

Kenya does not hold its next presidential and parliamentary polls until August 2017, but politicians are already trying to galvanize their supporters in a nation where violence erupted after the 2007 vote and the opposition disputed the 2013 result.

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Kenyan police officers beat protesters during clashes in Nairobi on Monday.
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Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

The opposition CORD coalition, led by Raila Odinga, who lost the 2013 vote and unsuccessfully challenged the result in court, has accused the IEBC of bias and said its members should quit. IEBC officials have dismissed the charge and say they will stay.

“For free and fair election, IEBC must go,” a banner held aloft by one demonstrator on Monday read.

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A protester beaten by the Kenyan police bleeding during clashes.
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Reuters

As the number of protesters grew, the police fired tear gas and water cannons at them from trucks parked nearby. A Reuters witness saw one protester carrying a bag of stones, while others threw them at police ranks. The police struck some protesters with batons.

“Despite the use of undue force by police, our peaceful pickets shall continue every week until the IEBC is reformed,” Odinga wrote on Twitter.

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Police officers beating a protester during clashes in Nairobi.
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Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

The Daily Nation website reported protests and scuffles with the police in other cities, including Kisumu and Kisii, both in western Kenya.

The police also used tear gas against protesters at two similar demonstrations in Nairobi over the past month, most recently last week.

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Protesters running from the police during clashes in Nairobi.
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Reuters

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is expected to seek reelection next year for a second and final term, has urged opponents not to take to the streets.

Despite the 2013 legal challenge, that vote proceeded smoothly and Odinga accepted the court ruling in a nation where ethnic loyalties usually trump policy among voters.

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Kenya police officers beating a protester during clashes.
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Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

After the disputed 2007 vote, about 1,200 were killed in ethnic fighting. Western diplomats have urged the authorities to work carefully with citizens to ensure peaceful elections in 2017.