Kenya updates: Protesters storm parliament, deaths reported

World Tuesday 25/June/2024 21:56 PM
By: DW
Kenya updates: Protesters storm parliament, deaths reported

Amnesty International said that at least five people were shot during clashes between police and protesters in Nairobi. Another 31 people were injured, the organization said. There were also 52 arrests, according to the human rights' watchdog.

Images and videos circulating online purportedly show several protesters with bullet wounds in the Kenyan capital.

Previously, the Kenya Human Rights Commission said police have shot four protesters, killing at least one.

"We strongly condemn the police killing. Such actions are unacceptable and constitute a grave violation of human rights. Justice and accountability are imperative. We will vigorously push for police accountability" the non-governmental organization said.The Kenyan military was ordered to support police officers as protesters take to the streets against proposed tax hikes.

Defense Minister Aden Bare Duale said soldiers were acting "in response to the security emergency caused by the ongoing violent protests" across Kenya that resulted "in destruction and breaching of critical infrastructure."

DW Kenya correspondent Edith Kamani explained why so many young people are angry over the controversial finance bill.

The Kenyan government of is hoping to raise $2.7 billion through additional taxes to reduce the budget deficit and that does not "look pretty on the payslips," Kamani added.

"Upon close inspection, young people found the taxes being suggested simply didn't make sense for them," she added.

The DW reporter described the protesters as "young people who are frustrated" and "seeing no way out, decided to take to the streets to have their voices heard" despite having no formal structure or leadership.

Kamani also noted that Kenya's population was young in general, with around 60% of it being either Millennials or Gen-Z.

"These are the people who are most affected by these increased taxes, and that's why they've organized themselves," she said. "The movement has really just spun out of a need and it's really, truly been organic without any real leadership."

The protests against the bill first turned violent last week — when the bill was introduced to the legislature, according to Kamani.

"Evidently, Members of Parliament have decided not to listen to them," Kamani said, referring to protesters.

US says 'monitoring' situation, condemns violence

The White House urged calm in Kenya, a close US partner in Africa, after protests against proposed tax hikes escalated into deadly violence in Nairobi.

"The United States is closely monitoring the situation in Nairobi. We condemn violence in all its forms and urge calm," a National Security Council spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, lawmakers gathered in parliament to debate the controversial bill that would levy a series of additional taxes to close a budget deficit. The motion has angered many, particularly young people, in the East African country where most of the population is already struggling with a cost of living crisis.