39 killed, over 360 injured in anti-tax protests in Kenya: human rights watchdog

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read
39 killed, over 360 injured in anti-tax protests in Kenya: human rights watchdog


At least 39 people have lost their lives in recent anti-government protests in Kenya against new tax hikes, Al Jazeera reported, citing a national rights watchdog.

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Activists in Kenya have prepared for a new round of protests this week.

The Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) on Monday announced a death toll that is almost double the number previously given by the government, which was the number of people killed during protests against an unpopular tax hike.

KNCHR records show that 39 people have been killed and 361 injured in connection with protests across the country, the state-funded body said in a statement, covering the period from June 18 to July 1, Al Jazeera reported.

It further said there were 32 cases of “forced or involuntary disappearances” of protesters and 627 arrests.

Furthermore, when lawmakers passed the controversial bill last Tuesday, largely peaceful anti-tax rallies led by mostly young Generation-Z protesters turned into shocking scenes of deadly violence.

After the vote was later announced, mobs vandalised the parliament complex in central Nairobi and the complex was partially set on fire when police opened fire on protesters, Al Jazeera reported.

Notably, it is the most serious crisis facing the government of President William Ruto since he took office in September 2022 after a deeply divisive election in a nation often regarded as a beacon of stability in the troubled region.

Ruto said in a television interview on Sunday that 19 people had been killed in the protests, but insisted he had “no blood on his hands” and promised to investigate the deaths.

The human rights body said the KNCHR “strongly condemns the unjustified violence and use of force against protesters, medical personnel, lawyers, journalists and safe places such as churches, medical emergency centres and ambulances.”

“We believe the force used against protesters was excessive and disproportionate,” it said.

The watchdog also said it strongly condemns the violent and shocking lawlessness displayed by some protesters, including at Parliament and other government buildings.

In addition, activists have called for fresh protests from Tuesday, while Ruto announced last week that he would not sign the tax hike bill.

Additionally, pamphlets have been posted on social media with the hashtags “Occupy Everywhere”, “Ruto Must Go” and “Reject Budgeted Corruption”.

India has also issued an advisory for its citizens in Kenya after protests against tax hikes turned violent, leading to unrest in the African country.

The Indian Embassy in Kenya had already advised Indian citizens there to “exercise extreme caution, restrict unnecessary movement and avoid areas affected by protests and violence until the situation becomes clearer.”

“Given the current tense situation, all Indians in Kenya are advised to exercise extreme caution, restrict unnecessary movement and avoid areas affected by protests and violence until the situation becomes clearer,” the embassy said.



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