Deadly Clashes Erupt in Nairobi as Protests Against Tax Hikes Turn Violent

According to reports from the Kenya Medical Association, at least five individuals have been fatally shot, and 31 others wounded amidst clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement

Nairobi, Tuesday – Tensions reached a boiling point in Nairobi yesterday as protests against proposed tax hikes descended into chaos, resulting in tragic casualties.

According to reports from the Kenya Medical Association, at least five individuals have been fatally shot, and 31 others wounded amidst clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement.

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The demonstrations, primarily driven by youth activists, have been ongoing since last week, sparked by widespread discontent over a sharp rise in the cost of living.

The unrest culminated yesterday near the parliamentary complex, where protesters breached barricades and confronted police officers in riot gear. Eyewitnesses, including journalists from AFP, observed several casualties lying motionless on the ground amid escalating confrontations.

“The situation rapidly deteriorated this afternoon when protesters began throwing stones and advancing towards parliament,” described a witness who requested anonymity. “Police responded by firing live rounds into the crowd, resulting in multiple casualties.”

The Kenya Human Rights Commission corroborated these accounts, reporting that police actions have resulted in fatalities among the protesters. “We have documented several cases of police firing live bullets, leading to the tragic loss of life,” stated a spokesperson from the Commission.

President William Ruto, responding to the escalating crisis, expressed readiness to engage with the demonstrators over the weekend. However, his appeal for dialogue appeared to have little effect as clashes intensified.

“Safe passage for medical personnel to treat the injured is now a critical priority,” urged Irungu Houghton, Executive Director of Amnesty International Kenya. Concerns have been raised over access for medical teams amidst the ongoing confrontations, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

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The protests centered around a contentious finance bill currently under parliamentary debate, which includes proposals for significant tax increases.

Despite heavy security measures, thousands of demonstrators had earlier marched through Nairobi’s financial district, defying police barricades in a determined show of dissent.

The government’s response to the protests has drawn condemnation from international observers.

“The increasing use of lethal force by the National Police Service is deeply concerning,” remarked Houghton. Calls for restraint and respect for human rights have been echoed by various civil society groups and international organizations.

As evening fell, the situation remained tense, with sporadic clashes continuing in the vicinity of the parliament building. The government has yet to issue an official statement addressing the day’s events.

The escalating violence marks a significant escalation in the ongoing unrest over economic policies in Kenya. With public anger showing no signs of abating, the government faces mounting pressure to address the grievances fueling the protests and to seek a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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