Protests, clashes with police continue in Kenya over controversial tax bill


KENYA – Crowds of Kenyans again took to the streets on Thursday in protest, clashing with police in Nairobi as nationwide demonstrations continue over a controversial tax bill.

The controversial bill, known as the Finance Bill 2024, has sparked discontent across the East African nation since first being presented in parliament in May, the new bill proposing an increase in an array of taxes and levies for Kenyans.

A report by the ABC news showed that hundreds took to the streets of Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Tuesday, with armed police lobbing tear gas canisters and firing water cannons at demonstrators who had assembled in Nairobi’s Central Business district.

At least 283 protesters were arrested, including four journalists, in the earlier protests, Amnesty Kenya told ABC News.

The human rights organisation said it is “alarmed and outraged” by the “use of excessive force,” “intimidation of civilians” and arbitrary arrests.

“Police were firing teargas at us and we had to run into a nearby café to seek shelter,” Stella Njoki, 22, a student who took part in the protests, told ABC News in a phone interview.

“But it was imperative we made our voice heard as this is our future, our Kenya and it is us who will be paying this price.” The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi on Tuesday issued a demonstration alert for U.S. citizens, saying events were “intended to be peaceful” but can “turn violent” at any moment.

The embassy called on U.S. citizens to “remain vigilant” and avoid large gatherings.

The Finance Bill was introduced as part of Kenya’s budget for next year, Kenya’s Finance Minister, Njuguna Ndung’u saying the budget was aiming to “revitalise” Kenya’s economy, raise an additional 346.7 billion Kenya shillings in revenue and help alleviate debt.

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