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Five Killed and Parliament Ablaze in Kenya Tax Protests

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Ayize claire

Jun 26, 2024

 Five Protesters Killed Amid Escalating Unrest Over Controversial Tax Hikes

Kenyan demonstrators charging against anti-riot police

At least five protesters were shot dead by police in Kenya, and parts of the parliament building in Nairobi were set ablaze during escalating demonstrations against new tax proposals. An angry crowd broke through police lines, storming and vandalizing the interior of the parliament.

The ceremonial mace was also stolen. President William Ruto, addressing the nation, vowed to use all means to "thwart any attempts by dangerous criminals to undermine the security and stability of our country" and deployed the military to quell the unrest.

Protests against the finance bill, which includes several tax hikes, have been ongoing for days but intensified on Tuesday after MPs passed an amended version. Police responded with live ammunition, killing at least five people, according to the Kenya Medical Association.

A BBC reporter at the scene saw bodies lying in pools of blood on the streets. Protesters voiced their outrage over the proposed taxes, including a 16% tax on bread and sanitary pads.

Hundreds were reportedly injured, including from rubber bullets and tear gas. Soldiers forced doctors out of a medical camp set up at a Nairobi cathedral to tend to injured protesters, and another temporary unit was established outside Kenyatta National Hospital's emergency unit.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta urged dialogue, emphasizing that leaders should recognize their power comes from the people. Despite some concessions in the amended bill, protesters demanded its complete withdrawal.

The protests have garnered international attention, with support from prominent African figures such as Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine and South African politician Julius Malema. Western countries have expressed concern over the violence and called for calm.

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