The protests started to oppose tax increases imposed by President William Ruto, amid soaring cost of living. Dozens were arrested.
The number of people killed in protests in Kenya rose to two on Saturday, according to a hospital official, after opposition leader Raila Odinga urged Kenyans to take to the streets against tax hikes.
The number of people killed in protests in Kenya rose to two on Saturday, a hospital official told AFP, after opposition leader Raila Odinga urged Kenyans to take to the streets against tax hikes. Police on Friday fired tear gas targeting Odinga’s convoy.https://t.co/TkGQ4uqv3z pic.twitter.com/lFix5CihlK— AFP News Agency (@AFP) July 8, 2023
One man has been shot dead on Friday, another died overnight.
Police intervened to break up protests in the western city of Kisumu.
“One person died of gunshot wounds while two are still admitted,” said Alex Ochieng, administrator at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referral Hospital, adding that the fatality was a man.
Television news channels showed footage of police firing tear gas to disperse protesters in Nairobi, in the port city of Mombasa, in the western city of Kisumu and in the town of Kisii also in the west.
Police on Friday fired tear gas targeting Odinga’s convoy.
Police also arrested at least 17 protesters in the capital Nairobi, according to a coalition of human rights groups, including Article 19.
Another 11 activists were arrested in other towns, the groups said.
“We witnessed protesters being dragged on the ground,” the group of 10 watchdogs said in a statement, calling for an investigation into police conduct during the protests.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga called the protests to oppose tax increases that were imposed despite a court-ordered suspension.
Kenya police fired teargas at Odinga as he led his supporters to central business district of the capital, Nairobi.
The tax came as people reported struggling with persistently high prices of basic commodities such as maize flour.
President William Ruto signed controversial tax measures into law, which had been approved by MPs two weeks earlier.
Among the new measures was an increase in the value-added tax on fuel products from 8% to 16%.
Previous protests have sometimes descended into violence and looting, with two people killed in separate clashes between police and demonstrators in March.
Amnesty International in Kenya said Friday that it had “received reports of arbitrary arrests of protesters in Nairobi and Western Kenya and selective excessive force” deployed by police.
#StatementAmnesty International Kenya urges the police to release those lawfully exercising their right to protest and refrain from using excessive and unlawful force that may result in injuries and deaths.Read our statement: https://t.co/OPcGXwHh98#SabaSabaMarchForOurLives pic.twitter.com/EZJ1zKLOVs— Amnesty Kenya (@AmnestyKenya) July 7, 2023
Odinga called his supporters to protest again next Wednesday.
On 7 July 1990, thousands of Kenyans braved the dictatorship of then leader Daniel Arap Moï and took to the streets to demand the end of the single party.
The leaders of the protest were arrested, and among them was Raila Odinga, already an opponent.
The movement ended in a major political change, and, at the end of 1991, Moï modified the constitution and opened up to a multiparty system.
“Saba Saba” (7-7, for 7-July, in Swahili) became the rallying cry of many political battles in Kenya.
(with AFP and Reuters)