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Violent clashes in Kenya turn deadly as police fire on youth protesters

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Kenyan security forces shot and killed multiple demonstrators in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 25, as anti-tax protests turned violent. Police fired live rounds on protesters outside of Kenya’s parliament building, reportedly killing at least 10 and injuring dozens. Amid the chaos, a section of the parliament building was set on fire.

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The demonstrators, rallying against new tax hikes amid a severe cost-of-living crisis, were met with water cannons and tear gas as they stormed the assembly.

Inside parliament, lawmakers approved the contentious tax hikes despite the unrest. Lawmakers evacuated to a nearby government building through an underground tunnel as police clashed with protesters.

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The bill now goes to President William Ruto, who had been expected to sign it this week, though he has signaled a willingness to hold talks with protesters and negotiate changes to the tax bill.

The bill aims to raise $2.7 billion in taxes to address the national debt, which consumes about 40% of the nation’s total revenue in interest payments alone.

Frustrated Kenyan youth launched the current “7 Days of Rage” movement to protest the nation’s fiscal policies they see as unfairly burdensome.

Amnesty International has expressed concern over the government’s response. The organization said at least 12 key figures in the movement were abducted in the days leading up to the protests in what appears to be an attempt to suppress the demonstrations.

These protests come at a pivotal moment for Kenya, which was recently designated a “major non-NATO ally” of the U.S.

On Monday, President Ruto sent 400 police officers to Haiti for a U.N.-backed security mission. This deployment, expected to total 1,000 officers, has ignited controversy within Kenya. Critics question the legality and morality of the move, while human rights groups fear the Kenyan police might replicate the tactics used during domestic protests in their operations abroad.

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[karah rucker]

KENYAN SECURITY FORCES SHOT AND KILLED MULTIPLE DEMONSTRATORS IN NAIROBI TUESDAY AS ANTI-TAX PROTESTS TURNED VIOLENT.

CHAOS ERUPTED AT PARLIAMENT AS POLICE FIRED LIVE ROUNDS ON PROTESTERS, REPORTEDLY KILLING AT LEAST 10 AND INJURING DOZENS. THE DEMONSTRATORS, RALLYING AGAINST NEW TAX HIKES AMIDST A SEVERE COST-OF-LIVING CRISIS, WERE MET WITH WATER CANNONS AND TEAR GAS AS THEY STORMED THE ASSEMBLY.

AMID THE CHAOS, A SECTION OF THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING WAS SET ON FIRE.

INSIDE THE PARLIAMENT, DESPITE THE UNREST, LAWMAKERS APPROVED THE CONTENTIOUS TAX HIKES. LAWMAKERS WERE EVACUATED TO A NEARBY GOVERNMENT BUILDING THROUGH AN UNDERGROUND TUNNEL AS POLICE CLASHED WITH PROTESTORS.

THE BILL NOW GOES TO PRESIDENT WILLIAM RUTO — WHO HAD BEEN EXPECTED TO SIGN IT THIS WEEK. THOUGH HE HAS SIGNALED A WILLINGNESS TO HOLD TALKS WITH PROTESTERS AND NEGOTIATE CHANGES TO THE TAX BILL.

THE BILL AIMS TO RAISE $2.7 BILLION IN TAXES TO ADDRESS THE NATIONAL DEBT, WHICH CONSUMES ABOUT 40% OF THE NATION’S TOTAL REVENUE IN INTEREST PAYMENTS ALONE.

FRUSTRATED KENYAN YOUTH LAUNCHED THE CURRENT ‘7 DAYS OF RAGE’ MOVEMENT, TO PROTEST THE NATION’S FISCAL POLICIES THEY SEE AS UNFAIRLY BURDENSOME.

THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE HAS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED. THE ORGANIZATION SAYS AT LEAST 12 KEY FIGURES IN THE PROTEST MOVEMENT WERE ABDUCTED IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THE PROTESTS, IN WHAT APPEARS TO BE AN ATTEMPT TO SUPPRESS THE DEMONSTRATIONS.

THESE PROTESTS COME AT A PIVOTAL MOMENT FOR KENYA, WHICH WAS RECENTLY DESIGNATED A “MAJOR NON-NATO ALLY” OF THE U.S.

ON MONDAY — PRESIDENT RUTO SENT 400 POLICE OFFICERS TO HAITI FOR A U-N BACKED SECURITY MISSION.

THIS DEPLOYMENT, EXPECTED TO TOTAL 1,000 OFFICERS, HAS IGNITED CONTROVERSY WITHIN KENYA. CRITICS QUESTION THE LEGALITY AND MORALITY OF THE MOVE, WHILE HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS FEAR THE KENYAN POLICE MIGHT REPLICATE THE SEVERE TACTICS USED DURING DOMESTIC PROTESTS IN THEIR OPERATIONS ABROAD.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

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