Tear Gas Deployed Against Anti-Government Protesters in Kenya

Tear Gas Deployed Against Anti-Government Protesters in Kenya
EPA The demonstrations against President Ruto's government have continued despite the finance bill being dropped

Police in Mombasa and Nairobi, the capital and seaside city, respectively, have used tear gas to disperse anti-government demonstrations. Because of the chaos, several stores in these downtown areas have stayed closed. People in Kisumu and other cities have also flocked to the streets in protest.

Human rights organizations have reported that 39 people have been slain by security personnel since the protests against a contentious budget bill started two weeks ago. Despite President William Ruto’s decision to drop the planned tax increases, the protests have become violent, with many calling for Ruto’s resignation and others more outraged by police brutality. This has been the gravest crisis that his presidency has faced.

Even while there has been a little drop in the size of the demonstrations compared to last week, the situation remains chaotic, particularly in Mombasa, where demonstrators and police have clashed, resulting in the burning of automobiles. Confrontations along major routes leading to the city center continue, and a large security presence is still present in Nairobi. Protesters have set fires and pelted police with stones. Some shop owners in Mombasa and Nairobi’s key business areas have taken to hiring vigilantes armed with clubs to protect their stores from looting.

BBC/Mercy Juma
Linda Indakwa is using her art to show the impact of the protests in the capital

Nairobi store security guard Astin Kibowen, 21, vented his frustrations and called on the president to “listen to our cries, to our voices.” Increases in taxes on salaries, gasoline, and gross sales have contributed to a cost-of-living issue for Kenyans since President Ruto assumed office two years ago, pledging to revive the economy.

On a main roadway in downtown Nairobi, activists made a dramatic exhibition by placing empty coffins in front of riot police. The purpose was to draw attention to the excessive use of force during the nationwide protests. Last Tuesday, lawmakers voted to approve the budget measure, which sparked massive demonstrations and, according to the state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), the majority of protesters were slain. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) recorded 17 fatalities in Nairobi and 22 in other regions of the country. The group also recorded 627 arrests, 32 instances of forcible or involuntary disappearances, and 361 injuries.

The fatality toll from the protests was 24, according to Amnesty International, up from 19 according to early police reports. Artist Linda Indakwa has been documenting the protests in Nairobi via her artwork. “We are mourning the children killed by police,” she said, describing her art as a memorial to the victims of police brutality. I am creating art while others chant.

The Korean National Committee for Human Rights condemned “in the strongest terms possible the unwarranted violence and force inflicted on protesters, medical personnel, lawyers, journalists, and on safe spaces such as churches, medical emergency centers, and ambulances.” The utilization of force against demonstrators was deemed by the commission to be “excessive and disproportionate.”

Kenyan police have been accused of brutally responding to the protests

According to President Ruto, the police had “done their best they could” at a press roundtable interview. He admitted that existing processes will be used to correct any excesses. Rejecting the finance law will force Kenya to borrow $7.6 billion, or one trillion shillings, to run the government, the president said, a 67% increase over anticipated borrowing. He stressed that this will have repercussions in the fields of agriculture, health, and education.

Gladys Kigo and Mercy Juma of the BBC were present in Nairobi and covered the solemn memorial service for the victims of the violence. The problem in Kenya has further worsened as a result of the harsh criticism that the Kenyan police have received for their handling of the protesters.


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