1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Kenya: Police fire live rounds amid tax protests

June 25, 2024

Protesters stormed the Kenyan parliament that was later seen ablaze as violence escalates. The demonstrators, mostly young people, are protesting proposed tax hikes.

Police stand during a demonstration against Kenya's proposed finance bill
Rights watchdogs have accused security forces of breaking the law by abducting demonstratorsImage: Monicah Mwangi/REUTERS

Police in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday fired live rounds to break up demonstrations as thousands took to the streets across the country to protest proposed tax rises. 

Follow updates on the deadly escalation of protests in Kenya here.

What's the latest on the protests?

Reports emerged that some of the protesters had been shot and that several people had been killed. Reports varied significantly in the number of fatalities, from between one to 10.

Some demonstrators entered parliament at about the same time, with the building set on fire soon afterward.

The country's youth-led protest movement has become a major headache for the government, with organizers calling for protests and a general strike.

A heavy police presence met hundreds of chanting demonstrators in Nairobi's business district — previously the focus of protest — on Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, officers wearing full riot gear blocked access to Kenya's parliament.

The legislature is debating a finance bill containing the tax proposals.

President William Ruto's government has proposed tax hikes in its annual finance bill, which lawmakers must back by June 30.

Police also stopped protesters from reaching State House — the site of the president's office and residence.

Elsewhere across Kenya, crowds marched in the coastal city of Mombasa while protesters also converged in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, television images showed.

Several dead as Kenyan parliament stormed

Accusations against police

In his first public comments on the demonstrations, Ruto praised the protests for being largely non-violent.

However, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) watchdog and rights groups say two people died after rallies last Thursday. IPOA said it had documented at least one death as the result of a police shooting.

Rights watchdogs have accused security forces of breaking the law by abducting demonstrators.

Ruto: Those behind violence 'hereby put on notice'

"These abductions are intended to intimidate protesters planning to attend future peaceful demonstrations aimed at pressuring MPs to reject the bill," the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) said Monday.

The KHRC urged the "unconditional release of all abductees" who it said were mostly taken at night by "police officers in civilian clothes and unmarked cars."

rc/rmt (AFP, AP, Reuters)