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Anti-government protests clash with riot police in Kenya

Kenya ant-riot police beat a protester in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, July 2, 2024.   -  
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Henry Naminde/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


Protests continued in Kenya's capital and elsewhere Tuesday over a finance bill that would raise the cost of living, even after the president said he would not sign it in the wake of the storming of parliament last week.

Police fired tear gas at protesters in Nairobi as many businesses remained closed for fear of looting.

The main highway to Kenya's second largest city, Mombasa, was closed as protesters lit bonfires.

While there are concerns that President William Ruto might change his mind and sign the finance bill before next week's deadline, some protesters are calling on Ruto to resign, accusing him of bad governance.

One of those protesting is Rogers Oloo, 26 homeless, unemployed and with nothing to lose apart from a bird of prey he found abandoned and who has been with him for the past three months after he found it abandoned.

Like his bird whom he has named Johnson, Oloo lost his mother in 2011 and began living on the streets the same year.

He is frustrated with how Kenya's government is operating.

"If this is what the government is doing to us, (Kenyan President William) Ruto should leave. He is supposed to listen to common citizens," he said.

In a recent protest against the government, he was hit in the head by a rubber bullet.

He expressed his dissatisfaction with how the police are managing the demonstrations.

"This is not fair, they should just use teargas if they must, but now they are using bullets, do they want to kill us?" he said.

The two weeks of protests have left 39 people dead, according to the Kenya National Human Rights Commission.

Ruto on Sunday put that number at 19.

The president has offered to have dialogue with Kenyan youth and has promised budget cuts on travel and hospitality for his office in line with some protesters’ demands.

As unemployment remains high and prices rise, there has been outrage over the luxurious lives of the president and other senior officials.

Members of the youthful but leaderless protest movement have said they do not trust the president to implement his new austerity plans.

Kenya's main opposition party on Tuesday called on Ruto's government to take responsibility for the deaths that occurred last week.

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