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Kenyan Youths Return To Street in #OccupyStateHouse Protest


Kenyan Youths Return To Street in #OccupyStateHouse Protest

On Thursday, Kenyan youth returned to the streets in a #OccupyStateHouse protest after President William Ruto withdrew the controversial Finance Bill, which proposed the imposition of a tax on some commodities.

Defying military and police deployed on the streets of Kenya, hundreds of youths gathered in Kisumu, Mombasa, one of the largest cities in the country, and Nairobi to express their displeasure with the Ruto-led government.  

Trending #OccupyStateHouse and #Rutomustgo, Kenyans shared footage of protesters on the streets of Kenya on Thursday.

“Some residents in Mombasa protesting along Moi Avenue,” The Standard, a Kenyan newspaper, reported, sharing photos of youth marching on the streets. “Mombasa’s youth take to the streets to protest the Finance Bill despite President Ruto’s decision not to sign the bill into law.”

It was similar to the experience in Mr Ruto’s Eldoret town, where protesters marched on the streets despite heavily armed security personnel on the ground.

In anticipation of the nationwide protests, Kenyan Defence Forces and anti-riot units were deployed at strategic locations. 

In Nairobi, armed police officers blocked roads leading to State House to prevent protesters from accessing it, according to reports by Kenyan local media. 

However, protesters came out en masse, demonstrating and disrupting commercial activities in Nairobi CBD as they moved to occupy Kenya State House despite the police clampdown.

“Police using lots of teargas to clear protesters from the Nairobi CBD,” CNN’s Larry Madowo said, posting a video of the protest on X. “Most businesses are closed as military trucks patrol the streets.”

This comes after Mr Ruto bowed to public pressure, announcing the withdrawal of the controversial Finance Bill, which imposes taxes on cars, phones, bread, sanitary pads, and other commodities, in a live broadcast on Wednesday.

Afterwards, in another statement on his X handle same day, Mr Ruto said 

We commend our youth for exercising their constitutional rights to be involved in the affairs of their country. Unfortunately, criminals often hijack such initiatives, engaging in violence and destruction of property.

“This should not silence their voices. Moving forward, we will engage the youth and other stakeholders as part of a multisectoral effort to find solutions to issues of national concern,” he added.

Nationwide protests against the Finance Bill broke out last week but took a bloody trajectory as police opened live rounds on protesters, who eventually broke into the parliament on Tuesday. 

Amnesty International, in a statement on Wednesday, said 23 were killed as police shot at protesters on Tuesday, about 200 were injured, while 50 were kidnapped.

The human organisation accused Mr Ruto of overseeing the killing of citizens, calling his trial at the International Criminal Court. 

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