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Tax Hikes: Kenyan protesters in fresh clashes with police

Police officers fired teargas to disperse protesters in the capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa and several other towns,

• July 12, 2023
Kenyan protesters
Kenyan protesters

Protesters in Kenyan cities on Wednesday threw stones at police officers during a second round of demonstrations called by the main opposition leader against a raft of tax hikes.

Police officers fired teargas to disperse protesters in the capital Nairobi, the port city of Mombasa and several other towns, according to Reuter’s reporters and footage aired on Kenyan television stations.

Ibrahim Stanley, a protester in Nairobi’s informal Kibera settlements, said, “We have ventured out on our own accord. We are out here because we are tired.”

Intense clashes occurred on the expressway connecting Nairobi to the main airport, where protesters lit bonfires and toppled fencing. The expressway said toll services had been halted at three stations.

At least six people were killed last Friday during protests against the taxes contained in a finance bill signed into law by President William Ruto last month.

Kenya’s High Court ordered the suspension of implementation of the legislation pending a legal challenge, but the government has raised petrol prices anyway.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who called for the protests, is due to address supporters in Nairobi.

Mr Odinga finished runner-up in the last five presidential elections, including losing to Mr Ruto last year.

He had led a series of protests earlier this year against the high cost of living and alleged election irregularities, demonstrations that repeatedly degenerated into unrest.

His activities prompted civic leaders to warn against a return to the ethnically-charged violence that has plagued Kenya in the past.

Mr Ruto’s government said the tax hikes, which include a doubling of the fuel tax and the introduction of a levy to fund affordable housing, will raise an extra 200 billion Kenyan shillings ($1.42 billion) a year.

It added that the government needed to deal with growing debt repayment and fund job creation initiatives.

The opposition said they would deepen the suffering of Kenyans at a time many struggled with high prices of basic commodities such as maize flour.


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