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Kenya: President William Ruto Prohibits Further Protests Against Tax Hike

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Kenyan President William Ruto has refused to give permission to protests scheduled for next week, on Friday. He cited the two demonstrations that left around 15 people dead.

The latest demonstrations happened without police permission as there was a ban on them. Vowing to stop the demonstrations, Rut did not make it clear how he will be able to prevent the next protests.

Opposition has criticized Ruto’s tax hike law, made last month. Raila Odinga’s, leader of the opposition, along with his party called on Friday a three day extension for the protests, starting next Wednesday, against the law.  Last year in August’s election Ruto defeated Odinga and came to power with the vow of making the conditions for poor better. However, the opposition feel that tax hike will make conditions for Kenyans who were already facing difficulties in acquiring food items like maize flour.

During the event of a road opening in the town of Naivasha, Ruto said, “Elections ended August 9 last year. You cannot look for the leadership of this country using the blood of the citizens, the death of the citizens and the destruction of property. These demos will not happen. Listen to me carefully: you cannot use extrajudicial, extra-constitutional means to look for power in Kenya.”

Odinga could not secure the last five presidential votes but had enjoyed senior designations in government in old days by making good connections with the ruling leaders.

Jeremy Laurence, spokesman for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), on Friday said that it was “very concerned by the widespread violence, and allegations of unnecessary or disproportionate use of force, including the use of firearms, by police during protests in Kenya”.

Opposing the protests, the authorities blamed protestors for the deaths. The protestors have even thrown rocks at police and damaged public property.  More than 300 people were arrested in connection with Wednesday’s protests.

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