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Kenyan demonstrators vow to continue protests against controversial tax hikes

Demonstrators in Kenya   -  
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Brian Inganga/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


A day after at least eight people were killed in Kenya as they stormed parliament in protest against controversial tax hikes, demonstrators have vowed to take to the streets again on Thursday.

Police had opened fire on crowds as they made their way to the building where lawmakers had just passed a finance bill that aims to shore up the country’s budget deficit.

The outpouring of anger in towns and cities across the country over the past week is the most serious crisis faced by President William Ruto in his two-year presidency.

In a televised address on Tuesday night, he warned his government would take a tough stance against “violence and anarchy”.

Soldiers have been deployed to help police deal with the “security emergency” on the streets.

Protesters say the tax hikes laid out in the bill will raise the cost of living for people already struggling to make ends meet.

Last week, some of the proposed taxes in the bill, including on bread and cooking oil, were dropped, but others were inserted.

The president has defended the tax increases, saying the country needs to reduce its reliance on borrowing and must service its massive debt of some $78 billion.

Protesters are saying the want the entire bill scrapped, and many are calling on the president to resign.

Ruto must still sign the bill for it to become law.

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