News

June 25, 2024

Kenya’s Ruto vows response to ‘treasonous events’ in anti-tax protests

Kenya’s Ruto vows response to ‘treasonous events’ in anti-tax protests

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Demonstrators gather around ambulances during a nationwide strike to protest against tax hikes and the Finance Bill 2024 in downtown Nairobi, on June 25, 2024. – Kenyan police shot dead one protester near the country’s parliament Tuesday, a rights watchdog said as demonstrators angry over proposed tax hikes breached barricades and entered the government complex, where a fire erupted. The mainly Gen-Z-led rallies, which began last week, have taken President William Ruto’s government by surprise, with the Kenyan leader saying over the weekend that he was ready to speak to the protesters. (Photo by Amaury Falt-Brown / AFP)

Kenya’s President William Ruto vowed to take a tough line against “violence and anarchy” on Tuesday after protests against his government’s proposed tax hikes turned deadly and demonstrators ransacked parliament.

“We shall provide a full, effective and expeditious response to today’s treasonous events,” Ruto told a press briefing in Nairobi, saying the demonstrations were “hijacked by dangerous people”.

“It is not in order or even conceivable that criminals pretending to be peaceful protesters can reign terror against the people, their elected representatives and the institutions established under our constitution and expect to go scot-free,” Ruto added.

“I hereby put on notice the planners, financiers, orchestrators, abetters of violence and anarchy.”

Five people were shot dead and dozens wounded, according to NGOs, as police clashed with demonstrators who stormed the parliament compound in Nairobi.

The military has been deployed to support police, who fired tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and — according to a rights group — live ammunition against protesters.

The mainly youth-led rallies have galvanised outrage over proposed tax hikes and simmering anger over a cost-of-living crisis to fuel rapidly growing demonstrations that have caught the government off guard.

Vanguard News