Kenya Tax Protests: One Killed, Over 200 Injured as Protests Turned Violent

One person was killed, at least 200 were injured, and over 100 were arrested in nationwide protests across Kenya against the government’s plan to raise $2.7 billion through additional taxes, according to a coalition of rights groups.

In Nairobi, police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, stated the alliance, which includes Amnesty International and the Kenya Medical Association, in a late Thursday statement.

The discovery of spent cartridges suggested that live ammunition was used. An individual succumbed to a gunshot wound at Bliss Hospital, as reported by the Daily Nation. This account aligns with a police report viewed by Reuters, which documented the death of a 29-year-old man from a similar injury at the same hospital on Thursday night, though the report did not clarify the cause of the injury.

The rights groups praised the protesters, noting the peaceful conduct and composure of the many young participants despite police provocation.

The demonstrators are demanding the complete withdrawal of the finance bill, arguing that it will constrict the economy and heighten the cost of living for already burdened Kenyans. Conversely, the International Monetary Fund has advised that the government should increase its revenue to diminish the budget deficit and national debt.

This week, the government slightly relaxed its stance, with President William Ruto supporting the removal of certain new taxes, including those on car ownership, bread, cooking oil, and financial transactions.

Nevertheless, despite the extensive protests occurring in 19 of Kenya’s 47 counties, the finance bill passed its second reading in parliament on Thursday, advancing the disputed tax measures to the next stage of approval.

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