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Soldiers opened fire March 3 on several hundred protesters demanding freedom for political prisoners in Uhuru Park in Nairobi, Kenya.

The several dozen troops fired tear gas repeatedly to disperse several hundred demonstrators gathered to support a small group of women who had been fasting to protest the detention of their sons.

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Witnesses said police then waded into the small group of women, fired shots into the air, and clubbed at least four of the women unconscious.

The women, many of them mothers of prisoners, began the strike Feb. 28 with an appeal to Attorney General Amos Wako to release 52 people they said were jailed for political offenses. Mr. Wako has promised to review the cases.

Earlier, the government had ordered the women to end their protest, saying it had been taken over by opposition supporters who were using it to cause unrest in the city.

President Daniel arap Moi last December legalized opposition parties in this East African nation and said he would hold elections this year.

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