Violence Erupts in Kenya as Protesters Storm Parliament Over Tax Bill; President Promises Firm Action

by Louisa Afful
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In Kenya, violent protests erupted as thousands of demonstrators stormed parliament to oppose a contentious tax bill on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. The bill, recently passed amid turmoil, introduces new taxes on essential items including bread, vegetable oil, sugar, and personal hygiene products like sanitary towels and diapers. The government argues these measures are necessary to fund development programs and alleviate the country’s public debt.

Police responded to the protests with tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition, resulting in several deaths and hundreds of injuries. At least three protesters were reportedly shot dead as they breached security and set parts of the parliament buildings on fire.

Addressing the nation following the unrest, Kenyan President William Ruto condemned the storming of parliament and vowed to take strong actions to prevent such incidents in the future, “at whatever cost.” The chaos forced lawmakers to flee the legislative session where they had debated and approved the controversial bill.

The protests reflect widespread public dissatisfaction with the new tax measures, which are seen as disproportionately affecting ordinary citizens already struggling with economic challenges. The government’s assertion that the taxes are essential for national development has sparked heated debate and intensified tensions across the country.

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