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Kenya resolves to end violence from demonstrations – World

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Protesters chant slogans as they use furniture as a barricade to clash with police officers during an anti-government demonstration in downtown Nairobi on Tuesday. LUIS TATO/AFP

The Kenyan government is determined to end violence and looting stemming from anti-government protests, said Kenya’s interior cabinet secretary, adding that anarchy, violence and plunder must stop.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki said in a statement following violent demonstrations on Tuesday that the protests have been hijacked by criminal gangs who continue to disrupt public order, commit arson and terrorize the public. The protests began last month in response to a controversial finance bill that aims to increase taxes to pay Kenya’s external debt.

“The reign of terror against the people of Kenya and the impunity of dangerous criminal gangs must end at whatever cost. The government is determined to stop criminals aiming to terrorize the public and harm Kenya,” Kindiki said.

He also said more protests are being planned on Thursday and Sunday and promised illegal activities such as looting will be firmly dealt with.

Though Kenya’s President William Ruto had already declined to sign into law the controversial tax bill, thousands of young people still poured onto the streets across the country on Tuesday calling for Ruto and his government to resign.

Tuesday’s protests resulted in widespread destruction of property and lootings. In the capital Nairobi, some businesses were attacked and looted, according to local media reports. Anti-riot police were forced to fire tear gas at protesters in Nairobi and other cities across the country.

According to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, a total of 39 people have been killed and more than 360 injured in the anti-government demonstrations since late June.

Nanjira Nyabola, a Kenyan social media user on X, said that despite the finance bill being the immediate trigger for the protests, the backdrop is a collapsing currency and rising inflation.

On June 26, Ruto bowed to pressure and declined to sign the finance bill into law, saying he would listen to the views of Kenyans. He called for multi-sectoral, multistakeholder engagement to be held with a view of charting the way forward on matters relating to the contents of the finance bill. Speaking at a media roundtable in Nairobi on Sunday, Ruto said he was willing to meet with protesters, especially the youth, on any platform they are comfortable with and listen to them.

Kenyan lawyer Miguna Miguna said that despite the government discarding the controversial finance bill, Kenyans want to see more through the sacking of corrupt government officials and the introduction of austerity measures.

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