Tax hike protests in Kenya killed at least 39 people, says rights watchdog

3 Tax hike protests in Kenya killed at least 39 people, says rights watchdog

KENYA – At least 39 people have been killed in recent anti-government protests in Kenya, says the national rights watchdog, as activists gear up for a new round of protests this week.
The toll, announced on Monday by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), is almost double the figure previously disclosed by the government for those killed while demonstrating against a raft of unpopular tax increases that have now been withdrawn. KNCHR records indicate 39 people have died and 361 have been injured “in relation to the protests countrywide”, the state-funded body said in a statement, adding that the figures covered the period from June 18 to July 1.
It added that there had been 32 cases of “enforced or involuntary disappearances” and 627 arrests of protesters. Largely peaceful anti-tax rallies – led by mostly young Gen-Z protesters – descended into shocking scenes of deadly violence last Tuesday when lawmakers passed the contentious legislation. After the vote was announced, crowds ransacked the parliament complex in central Nairobi and it was partly set ablaze as police fired live bullets at protesters. It is the most serious crisis to confront the government of President William Ruto since he took office in September 2022 following a deeply divisive election in a nation often considered a beacon of stability in a turbulent region. In a televised interview on Sunday, Ruto said that 19 people had died in the protests, but insisted that he did not have “blood on my hands” and pledged an investigation into the deaths. (Al Jazeera)…[+]