Home Australia Chaos in Kenya as thousands of protesters storm parliament and ten people are killed when police open fire during riots over tax reforms

Chaos in Kenya as thousands of protesters storm parliament and ten people are killed when police open fire during riots over tax reforms

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A protester throws a tear gas canister at police during a strike to protest against tax increases in Kenya.

Kenya’s capital has been plunged into chaos amid unrest over tax increases, with a fire breaking out in the country’s parliament and police opening fire with live ammunition on crowds of angry protesters.

Thousands of anti-tax protesters broke through barriers erected by police outside the parliament building in Nairobi, forcing lawmakers to urgently evacuate.

Ten people have died in the violent clashes, in which police fired live ammunition at anti-government protesters. Paramedics have reported that the shooting has left at least 50 people injured.

The video shows smoke rising from parts of the government building as crowds poured through its doors, and projectiles are also seen being fired.

Protesters entered the complex where lawmakers were debating controversial tax increase proposals that have sparked widespread anger.

A protester throws a tear gas canister at police during a strike to protest against tax increases in Kenya.

Flames rise from a parliament building on the day of a demonstration against Kenya's proposed finance bill in Nairobi, Kenya, June 25.

Flames rise from a parliament building on the day of a demonstration against Kenya’s proposed finance bill in Nairobi, Kenya, June 25.

A masked protester holds an empty ammunition magazine used by police during a protest against the proposed tax increase.

A masked protester holds an empty ammunition magazine used by police during a protest against the proposed tax increase.

Protesters are perched on a police water cannon attempting to repel them with chemically treated water jets next to an advertisement displaying a photograph of Kenyan President William Ruto.

Protesters are perched on a police water cannon attempting to repel them with chemically treated water jets next to an advertisement displaying a photograph of Kenyan President William Ruto.

Doctors set up temporary emergency response shelters in different cities with supplies donated by Kenyans. Last week two people died in smaller-scale protests.

Today’s latest round of protests took place as lawmakers vote on the finance bill that would introduce new taxes, including an eco-tax that would increase the price of goods such as sanitary pads and diapers.

A proposal to tax bread was withdrawn after public outcry, but protesters continue to call on Parliament not to pass the bill.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission on Tuesday shared a video of officers shooting at protesters and said they would be held accountable.

The commission wrote in X, addressing President William Ruto: ‘The world is watching your descent into tyranny!

‘The actions of his regime are an assault on democracy. “Everyone involved in the shooting, actively or passively, must be held accountable.”

Kenya Law Society president Faith Odhiambo said on Tuesday that 50 Kenyans, including her personal assistant, had been “kidnapped” by people believed to be police officers. She said there were cases of extrajudicial executions, police kidnappings, torture and people being held incommunicado for several days.

Among the missing are people who participated in the ongoing demonstrations and were removed from their homes, workplaces and public spaces in the run-up to Tuesday’s protests, according to civil society groups.

Police officers did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Kenyan riot police operate near the country's parliament during a protest against proposed tax increases.

Kenyan riot police operate near the country’s parliament during a protest against proposed tax increases.

Protesters react as police use a water cannon during a protest against proposed tax increases.

Protesters react as police use a water cannon during a protest against proposed tax increases.

A protester uses a broom to repel a tear gas canister

A protester uses a broom to repel a tear gas canister

Thousands of people attended today's demonstration in Nairobi

Thousands of people attended today’s demonstration in Nairobi

Police prepare to fire tear gas at protesters during a protest against proposed tax increases.

Police prepare to fire tear gas at protesters during a protest against proposed tax increases.

Angry protesters criticized the country's president, William Ruto.

Angry protesters criticized the country’s president, William Ruto.

Parliament Speaker Moses Wetangula on Tuesday ordered the inspector general of police to provide information on the whereabouts of those the opposition says were abducted by police.

Ruto said on Sunday that he was proud of the youths who had come out to exercise their democratic duty and said he would engage the youth in their concerns. Ruto was outside the capital attending an African Union retreat.

Unrest has persisted in the country over the controversial tax bill even though some of the proposed increases were scrapped.

Among the scrapped tax increases was a proposed 16 percent VAT on bread, as well as proposed taxes on motor vehicles, vegetable oil and mobile money transfers, the chairman of Kenya’s National Planning and Finance Committee said.

A Kenyan police officer kicks a tear gas canister during a nationwide strike to protest tax increases.

A Kenyan police officer kicks a tear gas canister during a nationwide strike to protest tax increases.

A police officer fires tear gas at protesters during a protest against proposed tax increases.

A police officer fires tear gas at protesters during a protest against proposed tax increases.

An anti-government protester waves a Kenyan flag as police fire tear gas at them.

An anti-government protester waves a Kenyan flag as police fire tear gas at them.

‘When we initiated public participation in the 2024 Finance Bill, we made a promise that public participation would not be a futile exercise. “We have listened to the opinion of Kenyans,” Kuria Kimani said in a speech last week.

The changes in the finance bill were driven by the “need to protect Kenyans from the rising cost of living”, Kimani said.

But today’s dramatic scenes highlight how many are far from satisfied with the governments’ actions.

The measures have failed to allay fears that the tax increases will worsen the country’s cost of living crisis.

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