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Protests Erupt in Nairobi Over Controversial Tax Bill

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Last Updated on July 1, 2024 by News Desk

In Nairobi, Kenya, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators protesting a controversial bill that would have raised taxes on essential goods. The protests, sparked by President William Ruto’s proposed tax hike, called for his removal even after he withdrew the unpopular bill following deadly unrest.

Protests erupted after President Ruto’s proposal to increase taxes on essential goods. This decision faced significant backlash, particularly from the youth, leading to mass demonstrations. Ruto’s subsequent withdrawal of the bill came too late for many, as protests continued in memory of those killed during the unrest. The Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) reported credible instances of live fire being used against civilians, resulting in deaths and injuries.

Protesters marched towards Nairobi’s central business district, facing heavy police and military presence. Demonstrations also occurred in Mombasa, Kisumu, Kisii, and Migori, with some turning violent. In Homa Bay Town, seven people sustained gunshot wounds during clashes with police. The unrest reflects deep-seated dissatisfaction with Ruto’s leadership, particularly among the youth, who demand significant changes in governance. Despite Ruto’s attempts to quell the protests by withdrawing the tax bill, the demonstrations persisted, underscoring the protesters’ broader grievances against corruption and lack of representation.

The protests in Nairobi and other Kenyan cities highlight the intense opposition to President Ruto’s proposed tax hike and the broader discontent with his administration. The government’s response, involving police and military intervention, has led to further escalation of violence and casualties. The ongoing unrest suggests a critical need for dialogue and reform to address the protesters’ demands and prevent further violence. As the situation develops, the focus will be on whether the government can effectively engage with the youth and address their grievances to restore peace and stability.

Written by — Athi Venkatesh AVD

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