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Anti-government protesters clash with police in Kenya


GOOBJOOG NEWS | NAIROBI: Anti-government demonstrators clashed with Police Wednesday in various Kenyan towns including the capital city Nairobi in a second round of protests in less than a week over punitive taxation measures imposed by the government.

Police fired teargas to disperse the stone-throwing protestors in the capital Nairobi and other towns including the port city of Mombasa.

In Nairobi, intense clashes were witnessed at the expressway linking Nairobi to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) where protesters lit fires and destroyed a section of the road.

Police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity said two protestors were shot dead and more than 10 others taken to hospitals as police battled to repel the rowdy crowd and a health official said more than 50 schoolchildren in the capital Nairobi were tear-gassed.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga who is leading the demonstrations criticized police for using “excessive force” while quelling the protestors has vowed to continue until a recent law imposing more taxes is repealed.

President Ruto rose to power promising to uplift the livelihoods of the poor but critics say the recent tax laws will deepen the plight of Kenyans already struggling to afford basic commodities like maize flour.

But Mr. Ruto argues that the tax hikes, which include a doubling of the fuel tax and the introduction of a levy to fund affordable housing, are needed to deal with growing debt repayments and to fund job-creation initiatives.

Late last month, Kenya’s High Court ordered the suspension of implementation of the new taxes pending a legal challenge, but the government has raised petrol prices anyway.

At least six people were killed last Friday during protests called for by opposition leader Raila Odinga.

  • By Fauxile Kibet (Additional reporting by agencies).