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Kenya Protests Leave 22 Dead, Rights Commission Investigates

TWENTY-TWO people were killed during Tuesday’s protests in Kenya, marking the deadliest day of demonstrations, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. The state-funded organisation announced an investigation into the violence, which erupted over proposed tax hikes.

‘We have recorded 22 deaths… we are going to launch an inquiry,’ said Roseline Odede, chairwoman of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. She confirmed that 19 of the deaths occurred in Nairobi, where police opened fire on protesters attempting to storm parliament.

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The Kenya Medical Association reported that around 30 individuals were being treated for gunshot wounds sustained during the clashes. Initially peaceful, the youth-led rallies against the tax increases turned violent on Tuesday when police resorted to using live ammunition.

The chaos resulted in parts of the parliament building being set on fire and numerous injuries, prompting President William Ruto’s government to deploy military forces.

On Tuesday afternoon, parliament passed the contentious bill proposing tax increases, which now awaits President Ruto’s signature to become law. However, demonstrators have vowed to continue their protests, demanding the bill’s withdrawal.

‘Tomorrow we march peacefully again as we wear white, for all our fallen people,’ said protest organiser Hanifa Adan on social media platform X. ‘You cannot kill all of us.’

Protesters have been using the phrase ‘Tupatane Thursday’ (‘we meet Thursday’ in Swahili) along with the hashtag #RejectFinanceBill2024 on social media, indicating their plans to persist with the demonstrations.

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