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Protests Erupt Across Kenya Demanding President Ruto’s Resignation Amidst Economic Turmoil – The East Observer


Kenyan riot police deployed tear gas against demonstrators in Nairobi on Tuesday, with protests spreading to other cities demanding President William Ruto’s resignation following deadly clashes during anti-tax demonstrations.

Tear gas filled the air in downtown Nairobi after protesters set fires along Waiyaki Way, the capital’s main thoroughfare, and clashed with police in the central business district. In Kisii town, protesters blocked Capital Roundabout with a makeshift barricade.

Outside Nairobi, hundreds marched jubilantly through Mombasa, carrying palm fronds, blowing plastic horns, and beating drums while chanting “Ruto must go!” The protests reflect mounting frustration over economic hardships exacerbated by proposed tax increases and perceived government mismanagement.

President Ruto, facing significant unrest in his nearly two-year tenure, grapples with pressures from international lenders to reduce deficits amid soaring living costs. Despite abandoning the tax hikes that triggered the protests, Ruto’s appeals for dialogue have been rebuffed by the decentralized protest movement, organized largely through social media.

“People are dying in the streets, and all he talks about is money. We are not money; we are human beings,” protester Milan Waudo told Reuters in Mombasa. “He needs to care about his people because if he can’t, then he doesn’t deserve that position.”

Protests also erupted in Kisumu, Nakuru, Kajiado, Migori, Mlolongo, and Rongo, marked by sporadic violence and instances of property damage. The demonstrations, originally fueled by social media outcry over proposed tax hikes, have evolved into a nationwide call for accountability and governance reform.

The government, while urging calm, emphasizes patriotism and non-violence amidst escalating tensions. Ruto has instructed fiscal adjustments to compensate for lost tax revenue but faces criticism for perceived inaction on corruption and governance reforms demanded by activists and civil society.

The protests, initially sparked by nearly $2.7 billion in proposed tax increases, highlight deepening public discontent and distrust in Ruto’s administration amid economic challenges and allegations of official corruption.

Ruto defended the police response to the protests, attributing violence to “criminal elements” he claims exploited the demonstrations for their own ends.

Protests Erupt Across Kenya Demanding President Ruto’s Resignation Amidst Economic Turmoil

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