"Shaken to the core": When protests become fatal, Kenya is started.

labiba - | World

Kenya was in disbelief on Wednesday after extraordinary events that destroyed and set portions of parliament on fire, leading President William Ruto's administration to use force to quell fatal protests against planned tax increases.

The Daily Nation called the situation "Pandemonium," stating that "the foundations of the country have been shaken to the core." The Standard newspaper's front page headline read, "Deaths, mayhem."

Thousands of protesters marched against the tax rises last week in Nairobi, the nation's capital, and other locations around the nation as part of the largely peaceful start to the youth-led demonstrations.

However, tensions quickly increased on Tuesday afternoon when demonstrators stormed the parliament complex and police opened fire, wounding over thirty people and killing five, according to rights groups.

Aden Bare Duale, the minister of defense, declared hours later that the army had been sent in to assist the police in handling "the security emergency" in the nation.

Ruto compared some of the protesters to “criminals” and warned that his government will take a harsh stance against “violence and anarchy” in a late-night press conference.

"It is inconceivable and out of order for criminals posing as nonviolent protestors to incite terror against the people, their elected officials, and the institutions established by our constitution and expect to get away with it," the man declared.
The level of opposition to the government's tax measures, which was spearheaded by young Kenyans belonging to Generation Z, caught them off guard and resulted in the horrifying scenes at parliament that were shown live on television.

Pictures of the building that were posted on local TV stations following the rioters' breach of the barricades indicated it had been looted, with windows smashed and furnishings burned.

Protest organizers advised people to "stay safe" and go home in unison as police opened fire on the enraged throng, scattering numerous bodies on the ground.
An AFP correspondent reported that there was a noticeable police presence outside the parliament on Wednesday morning, with the stench of tear gas still there.

A policeman told AFP he had watched the upsetting events on TV while he stood in front of the complex's damaged barricades.

He remarked, "It was madness; hopefully, things will be calm today."

The demonstrations in several Kenyan cities earlier on Tuesday had been mainly nonviolent.

But in the afternoon, things got more heated in Nairobi as some demonstrators threw stones at the police, who first used water cannons and tear gas before opening fire with live ammunition.

According to the Kenya Human Rights Commission, at least one demonstrator had been shot by police. Three persons were observed by AFP journalists to be lying motionless and heavily bleeding on the ground close to the parliament.

Five individuals were shot dead by police, according to a joint statement from rights organizations, including the Kenya chapter of Amnesty International.

Internet connections went down as evening approached. According to international web watcher NetBlocks, Kenya had experienced a "major disruption" before connectivity came back the next day.
The international world is disturbed by the turmoil; the White House has called for calm, and more than ten Western countries, including Britain, Canada, and Germany, have expressed their dismay at the "scenes witnessed outside the Kenyan Parliament."

Moussa Faki Mahamat, the leader of the African Union commission, called on "all stakeholders to exercise calm and refrain from further violence" in response to the deaths, expressing "deep concern."

The president of the Azimio alliance and seasoned opposition leader Raila Odinga charged that the government was using "brute force on our country's children."

He declared, "Kenya cannot afford to kill its children just because they want food, jobs, and a listening ear."

Human rights advocates have further charged that police had kidnapped demonstrators.

AFP's inquiries for comments have received no response from the police.
Legislators started discussing potential tax increases in the 2024 budget bill last week, which sparked long-standing complaints about the growing expense of living.

The government, which is severely short of cash, claims that the increases are necessary to pay off the nation's enormous debt, which stands at around 10 trillion shillings ($78 billion), or nearly 70% of Kenya's GDP.

Following the retraction of some of the more contentious ideas, which had an impact on the buying of bread, the ownership of cars, and financial and mobile services, the government now plans to raise export tariffs and fuel prices.

The Kenyan Treasury has issued a dire warning, citing a 200 billion shilling shortfall in the budget as a result of Ruto's decision to reverse some tax hikes.

Kenya's economy is one of the most active in East Africa, but a third of its 52 million people live in poverty.

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