Protesters storm Kenyan parliament

The US ally’s government recently hiked tax rates at the IMF’s request. Hundreds of Kenyans protesting the government’s plan to raise taxes have broken into the parliament building in Nairobi, as some lawmakers cowered in the basement. At least five people were killed in clashes with police who were reinforced by the Kenyan military.

Tuesday’s riot began after the legislature voted 195-106 to pass the government’s 2024 Finance Bill, which envisioned tax increases to drum up $2.7 billion in revenue due to demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

President William Ruto denounced the protests as “treasonous events” and vowed to crack down on “criminals” who “hijacked” the demonstrations and turned them into “violence and anarchy.”

“Today’s attack resulted in the loss of lives, destruction of property and a lack of respect for the institutions,” Ruto said, calling it “a critical turning point in how we respond to such threats on national security.”

Videos making rounds on social media show the governor’s office in Nairobi in flames, as well as a group of demonstrators smashing flags and furniture inside the parliament and attempting to break down the doors of the Senate chamber.

According to the BBC, “hundreds” of lawmakers were trapped inside the building and took shelter in the basement.

At least ten people have died in clashes with the police, while another 40 have been admitted to local hospitals for treatment, according to local media.

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