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Demonstrators Feared Dead as Protests Flare in Kenya Over Tax Hikes

WorldDemonstrators Feared Dead as Protests Flare in Kenya Over Tax Hikes

Some demonstrators were reportedly killed in clashes with Kenya’s security forces on Wednesday after protests flared for the second time in a week over a raft of unpopular tax hikes proposed by the national government, an opposition leader said in an interview.

Protests broke out across Kenya, including the capital Nairobi, where Opiyo Wandayi, who leads the opposition in Kenya’s parliament said in an Interview that demonstrators railing against the tax hikes were forcefully dispersed by police.

“I was involved in the Nairobi protests. We were dispersed with water cannons, tear gas canisters, and live bullets,” Wandayi said.

He further claims that protesters were killed during the nationwide clashes.

“We are still verifying but so far, we have confirmed nine deaths across the country. The numbers might increase because there were many people with fatal injuries.”

Kenyan media also reported casualties from the protests on Wednesday afternoon.

Kenyan opposition leader and former prime minister Raila Odinga has led calls for nationwide protests over the increases.

Odinga lost the election in August last year and believes the results were manipulated and has since led civil disobedience protests against his political rival.

A Kenyan court temporarily halted the implementation of the Finance Act 2023 touted by President William Ruto as a measure to shore up public finances and increase domestic revenue.

However, the Ruto administration defied the court order and increased tax on fuel prices, which has led to a rise in cost of transport and staple goods.

“Kenyans are basically now on their knees. These new tax proposals have added serious pain to an already difficult situation. Kenyans who are on payroll are taking home negative salaries, and those who are in the informal sector are unable to make ends meet,” says Wandayi.

“Many Kenyans are unable to put three meals on the table in a day, and they are very angry at the situation as it is currently.”

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