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Two TV Stations Shut by Kenya Government Resume Broadcasting

Kenya civil rights groups protest on the streets of Nairobi holding placards against the government closure of the three main TV stations in Nairobi, Feb. 5, 2018.

Two Kenyan television channels shut down by the government over their coverage of the political opposition resumed partial broadcasting on Monday although a third channel remained off the air.

NTV resumed broadcasting on pay-to-view channels, it announced on its Twitter feed, although its free-to-air channel was still off. KTN News resumed on its free-to-air channel.

Citizen TV, which was also shut down last week, remained off-air.

The three were suspended after trying to live stream an event held by opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday, in which he symbolically inaugurated himself as president in a direct challenge to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Odinga says he, not Kenyatta, was the true winner of a disputed presidential election last August.

The Supreme Court later nullified the election on procedural grounds and Kenyatta won a repeat poll after Odinga boycotted mit, claiming it would not be fair.

The unprecedented censorship sparked vocal criticism from the United States, the United Nations and ex-colonial ruler Britain. In Nairobi, police used teargas to disperse a crowd of more than 100 demonstrators demanding the reopening of the channels on Monday.

Closing the stations has also sparked a flurry of court cases against the government, moving Kenya, East Africa's wealthiest economy and regional powerhouse, one step closer to a possible showdown between the government and judiciary.

No one from the government was immediately available for comment.

In the past few days, the government has also briefly detained three opposition politicians who took part in Odinga's ceremony.