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Violent Protests in Kenya Over Tax Hikes

June 26, 2024
Protests in Kenya

Violent protests erupted across Kenya on Tuesday as parliament passed a controversial bill to raise taxes. At least five people were killed and dozens injured when police clashed with demonstrators attempting to storm the legislature in Nairobi.

The unrest began when protesters breached the parliament compound, leading police to use tear gas, water cannons, and eventually live ammunition. In response, the government deployed the army to support police efforts.

The demonstrations, which spread to multiple cities, were fueled by opposition to new tax hikes aimed at raising $2.7 billion to address Kenya’s debt burden. Protesters demanded the resignation of President William Ruto, who faces the challenge of balancing international lenders’ demands with the needs of a struggling population.

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Opposition leaders called for the withdrawal of the finance bill and urged dialogue to address economic grievances. The protests have evolved from focusing solely on the bill to broader demands for political change.

International reactions were swift, with several countries calling for calm and restraint. The economic impact was immediately felt, with Kenya’s sovereign dollar bonds falling.

As Kenya grapples with this crisis, the government faces pressure to address economic concerns and restore stability, while protesters remain committed to seeing significant changes in leadership and financial policies.

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