July 14, 2024

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Kenya: Bodies in the streets as police fire live ammunition at protesters

Kenya: Bodies in the streets as police fire live ammunition at protesters



CNN

Kenyan police fired live bullets at demonstrators in Nairobi on Tuesday, as anger mounted against a controversial financial bill that sparked widespread protests.

The CNN team watched the disturbing scenes and noticed two bodies lying motionless on the ground. The ceremonial mace was also stolen from Kenya’s parliament when protesters stormed the parliament during anti-tax protests that turned violent.

The scepter, as described on the Kenyan government website, “is a highly decorated staff of metal, wood, or other material, held by the scepter or placed before a sovereign or other high official; In civil ceremonies or before a revered gathering to symbolize authority.

CNN affiliate NTV Kenya reported that Kenyan lawmakers who were in the parliament building escaped through an underground canal.

According to NTV Kenya, lawmakers were evacuated when police attacked the protesters, and they fled to the nearby government building at Bunge Towers.

Earlier on Tuesday, Auma Obama, the half-sister of former US President Barack Obama, was tear gassed by police during a live interview with CNN, while protesting against the bill.

“I can’t see anymore. We’re being tear gassed,” Obama said in dramatic footage captured by a CNN team on the ground.

Obama, a Kenyan-British activist, was speaking to CNN’s Larry Madowo alongside a group of young protesters when the group was tear gassed in Nairobi.

Kenya is in the grip Nationwide protests Against proposed tax increases, culminating in a planned “total lockdown” of the country.

The demonstrations, sparked by the 2024 Finance Bill, saw citizens gather under the slogan “7 Days of Rage,” as the country faces more days of unrest.

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“I’m here because I’m looking at what’s happening. Young Kenyans are demonstrating for their rights. They’re demonstrating with flags and signs,” Obama said.

President William Ruto said he wanted to engage in dialogue with the protesters and that he was “proud” of them. However, security forces have been accused of kidnapping prominent Kenyans, especially those with large social media followings.

Amnesty International Kenya said it was investigating the whereabouts of up to 12 people who were “kidnapped in the middle of the night” ahead of protests scheduled for Tuesday.

The list includes bloggers, content creators, human rights defenders, a doctor and a parliamentary staffer, Irongo Houghton, executive director of Amnesty International Kenya, told CNN.

“We are horrified by some of the testimonies we have heard over the last 24 hours. We have about a dozen people unaccounted for who were captured, in many cases, by people in uniform or not in uniform,” Houghton said, adding that they had not received Legal assistance and that their families do not know their whereabouts.

“We are now witnessing not only kidnappings, but also disappearances,” he said.
CNN has contacted the Kenyan police for comment.

The protests come as Kenya’s status takes on global importance with US President Joe Biden designating the country a “major non-NATO ally” on Monday, the first time a sub-Saharan African country has received that status.

In May, Biden announced his decision to raise Kenya to this designation while hosting President Ruto at the White House for a major state visit, celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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CNN’s Katherine Nichols contributed to this report.