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Kenya: Police disperse protesters lamenting high cost of living

Protesters in Nairobi   -  
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Protests took place in Nairobi on Friday where more than 20 anti-government protesters were arrested and other parts of the country also witnessed demonstrations called by the opposition against newly imposed taxes.

Hundreds of protesters turned out in Kenya's capital, as well as in the coastal city of Mombasa and the lakeside city of Kisumu where the opposition enjoys huge support, but were dispersed by police who fired tear gas canisters at them.

The protesters had lit bonfires and barricaded some major roads. "He (William Ruto, Kenya's president) is increasing taxes on people who have nothing," said protester Emmanuel Wafula.

"If one has money, it is okay to be taxed. We have nothing." The implementation of the newly signed law that increased taxes has been suspended by a court pending the hearing of a case filed by an opposition senator challenging its legality.

The government has, however, implemented the tax on petroleum products.

Nairobi police commander Adamson Bungei told The Associated Press on Friday that “more than 20 people had been arrested by midday” but did not disclose what charges they will face.

The opposition had called for the demonstrations to protest the newly imposed taxes on petroleum products, salaried workers and businesses.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga last week announced “civil disobedience” asking his followers not to pay the new taxes.

Opposition supporters are expected to congregate at a rally in Nairobi where Odinga said he would announce further steps towards fighting against the new taxes.

Police said the planned rally was legal but the ongoing demonstrations were illegal.

On Friday, some businesses in major cities remained closed.

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