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East AfricaNews

Kenyans Protest Over Tax Hikes, Police Fires Tear gas

Police use tear gas to disperse protesters during a demonstration against planned tax hikes in Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya – Police in Kenya have fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse protesters gathering near parliament in the capital to demonstrate against planned tax hikes that many fear will worsen the cost-of-living crisis.

Tense scenes played out in Nairobi on Thursday as hundreds took to the streets in opposition to a finance bill, which proposes introducing new taxes and levies that would increase the price of basic goods.

The tax increases were projected to raise 346.7 billion shillings ($2.7bn), equivalent to 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and reduce the budget deficit from 5.7 percent to 3.3 percent of GDP.

The cash-strapped government of President William Ruto agreed to make concessions on Tuesday, watering down the bill after hundreds of mostly young protesters clashed with police.

But the government will still go ahead with some tax increases and has defended the proposed hikes as necessary for filling its coffers and cutting reliance on external borrowing.

Protesters have decided to stage demonstrations across the country, including in the Indian Ocean city of Mombasa and the lakeside city of Kisumu, both opposition bastions.

In Nairobi, lawmakers debated the bill on Thursday in its second reading before parliament. The final version must pass before June 30. Meanwhile, authorities blocked several roads near parliament and made a heavy police deployment.

 

Derrick Kanalo
the authorDerrick Kanalo
News Reporter/ Editor
Am a professionally trained and well skilled media personality. Accuracy is part of my top priority as a journalist.