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Police storm Raila's 79th birthday celebrations in Nairobi [Video]

A statement by ODM reveals that police in anti-riot gear attacked peaceful Kenyans outside the National Archives as they were celebrating Raila Odinga’s birthday, firing tear-gas canisters and live bullets in the air.

File image of police responding to protests by the opposition in March 2023

Celebrations to mark Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga’s 79th birthday in Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD) have turned chaotic after police fired into the air to disperse the peaceful crowd that had gathered for the event.

A brief statement by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Communications Director Peter Etale indicates that National Police Anti-Riot Unit fired live bullets in the air.

"Police in anti-riot gear has attacked peaceful Kenyans outside the National Archives as they were celebrating Raila Odinga’s birthday," read the statement in part.

"They lobbed tear-gas canisters and shot live bullets in the air. They were led by OCPD for Central." Etale added.

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Police waited until the cake was presented with the crowd breaking into birthday song before firing teargas.

"We can't tell (whether anyone is injured) because they were just shooting at anyone and everyone on site. The intention was just to scuttle the whole thing.

"You know people were just peaceful. The citizens were waiting to cut the cake, celebrate and eat then they go. But the police officers just came and said they got orders from above." Etale added.

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The Azimio la Umoja leader celebrated his 79th birthday with kids in Malindi on Saturday, January 7, 2024 with a series of other events lined up to celebrate his special day.

ODM rolled out an elaborate schedule with venues where countrywide cake-cutting ceremony to mark Raila Odinga's 79th birthday will take place.

A statement explaining the symbolism of cake-cutting across the country notes that it will be symbolic, to “cut the cost of living and make life bearable for Kenyans”.

"There will be cake-cutting ceremonies across the county at 3:00 pm today at designated places to celebrate PL Raila Odinga’s birthday. The cutting of the cake will be symbolic… ‘cut the cost of living and make life bearable for Kenyans," the statement read in part.

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The party revealed that in Kisii, a cake will be cut at the Kisii CBD roundabout with the public invite to take part in the celebrations.

In Siaya, Siaya Governor's Park is the venue while in Nairobi, the Tom Mboya Statue in Nairobi CBD is where the cake will be cut.

Other venues include Maili Tatu in Maua, Meru county, Taxi Park in Busia, Mikindani Primary School in Mombasa, Hotel Conrad in Kitengela, Kajiado, Mabriver in Kwale, Narok and Kisumu CBD.

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