Kenya: at least 17 dead in protestsagainst tax increase

Kenyan Protestters in the Streets, june 2024 Photo: @caribdailynews

June 25, 2024 Hour: 5:56 pm

NGOs have so far documented 86 injuries, as well as 52 arrests, at least 43 of them in the Kenyan capital, added the aforementioned source, who wished to remain anonymous.

At least 17 people died this Tuesday in Kenya in serious protests against a new bill that contemplates tax increases, after a day of unprecedented mobilizations in the country’s recent history that led to the assault on Parliament, a platform confirmed to Africanews, made up of around twenty NGOs.

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A source from the Kenya Police Reform Working Group (PRWG-Kenya), which includes organizations such as Amnesty International (AI), 14 of the deaths were recorded in Nairobi, where the Police opened fire while trying to prevent, without success, the protesters to access the Parliament premises.

Likewise, NGOs have so far documented 86 injuries, as well as 52 arrests, at least 43 of them in the Kenyan capital, added the aforementioned source, who wished to remain anonymous.

The platform also claimed to have recorded at least 21 “kidnappings and disappearances” of activists in the last 24 hours, at the hands of “uniformed and non-uniformed” agents, although two of those affected have already been released.

In a statement, the president of the Supreme Court and head of the Kenyan Judiciary, Martha Koome, showed this Tuesday her “deep concern” about the kidnappings, which she called a “direct attack on the rule of law, human rights and Constitutionalism.”. Koome asked that “any criminal action be prosecuted legally.”

On the third day of protests in the last week and shouting “Ruto must go, Ruto must go!”, in reference to the Kenyan president, William Ruto, the protesters, mostly young people, managed to enter Parliament this Tuesday through the Senate (Upper House), despite the harsh response of the Police, who opened fire to prevent the assault.

What began as a peaceful protest by thousands of young people against tax increases in the Kenyan capital and other cities in at least 29 of the country’s 47 counties descended into a pitched battle between security forces and protesters.

In the Parliament, the protestors accused the politicians of being “traitors”, after 195 deputies voted preliminarily in favor of the controversial 2024 Finance Bill, compared to 106 votes. against, although the final vote is still pending.

With this rule, the Government intends to raise $2.7 billion in additional taxes to reduce the budget deficit and state debt.

However, anti-government protesters maintain that these tax measures push the population into poverty.

Last Tuesday, more than 300 people were arrested in Nairobi, while on Thursday there were at least 105 arrests throughout the country and 200 people were injured in the capital, while two protesters died as a result of those protests (one for the alleged impact from a gas canister and another from a police shot).

Unlike the anti-government protests that Kenya has historically experienced, often violent and driven by political leaders, these demonstrations were called by young people of the so-called ‘generation Z’ (people born between the mid-nineties of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century) and until now maintained a peaceful tone.

Autor: OSG

Fuente: Africanews

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