Kenyan police clash with opposition protesters over tax hikes

Kenyan opposition supporters protesting against tax hikes were met with a barrage of gas canisters fired by the police as they marched into central business district of the capital on Friday.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga organized the protests against the recently implemented tax hikes, which have further burdened the public amid already high prices of essential goods like maize flour.

Despite Kenya’s High Court’s order to suspend the tax hikes, the government proceeded to increase petrol prices, resulting in a subsequent legal challenge.

Amnesty International Kenya’s office released a statement saying that police have arrested numerous protesters in both the capital and western regions of Kenya. There was no comment from the police on the claims.

The government has justified the tax hikes, projected to generate an additional 200 billion shillings ($1.42 billion) annually, as necessary to address the escalating debt repayments and finance job-creation endeavors within the country.

While addressing his supporters, opposition leader Raila Odinga accused President William Ruto’s government of neglecting the issue of high living costs, engaging in the recruitment of opposition lawmakers, and unilaterally attempting to reconstitute the election commission.

Since the close election last August, which resulted in Ruto’s victory, the two men have clashed over various matters, including the high cost of living and the handling of upcoming elections.

After delivering a speech to his supporters at an open venue, Odinga led them on a march to a different park situated in the central business district.

However, the police intervened by deploying tear gas to disperse the crowd, as some individuals began hurling rocks at law enforcement before eventually retreating.

According to local media reports, the protesters were reportedly denied entry into the main business district, with Nairobi police chief Adamson Bungei confirming the restriction.

Local news media had reported that the main business district would be closed to demonstrators.

Television news channels aired footage showing police firing tear gas canisters to disperse protesters in the port city of Mombasa and also in other towns such as Kisii in the western region.

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