Uneasy calm in Kenya following violent protests over tax hike bill passed by parliament

Uneasy calm in Kenya following violent protests over tax hike bill passed by parliament

Streets in Nairobi noticeably quieter than usual amid law enforcement patrol, with many businesses closed as residents fear resurgence of vandalism

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – An uneasy calm prevailed in Kenya on Wednesday following a day of violent protests and clashes with police that claimed at least 10 lives.

Streets in the capital Nairobi are noticeably quieter than usual amid law enforcement patrol, with many businesses closed as residents fear a resurgence of the vandalism and looting they witnessed on Tuesday.

At least 10 people were killed and dozens more injured when police opened fire on hundreds of protesters who stormed the parliament compound in Nairobi in protest of the recent legislation passed by lawmakers to increase taxes.

Several locations visited by an Anadolu correspondent throughout the capital city showed that police presence is still heavy, with officers patrolling key areas to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incidents of violence.

Businesses, particularly those targeted during the protests, have opted to remain closed until the situation has been normalized.

The usually bustling City Center now has a more subdued atmosphere as residents remain cautious and await further developments.

Vincent Kioko, a local business owner, expressed his concerns about the situation to Anadolu, saying, "I had to close my shoe shop to protect it from looters. It's heartbreaking to see our city in this state, but safety comes first. If things remain calm, I'll reopen."

Mary Muthoni Wanjiru, a university student, expressed her concerns about the future, telling Anadolu, "The protests were frightening, but they also demonstrated how desperate people are.”

He believed that the new taxes would make things even more difficult for students like me who are already struggling.

The heightened security comes in the wake of widespread unrest sparked by opposition to the proposed Finance Bill 2024, which suggests tax hikes.

The protests, fueled by rage over the tax increases proposed in the bill, resulted in widespread looting and property damage throughout the city.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his sadness over the situation in a statement on Wednesday, stating, "I am deeply saddened by the reports of deaths and injuries - including of journalists and medical personnel - connected to protests and street demonstrations in Kenya."

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