Civil and peaceful protests by the Kenya people over the past week against the increase in fuel tax, which has led to higher transportation and essential commodity prices, escalated into violence with the intervention of the police, resulting in several citizens being killed or injured.
According to CNN, a Kenyan court temporarily halted the implementation of the 2023 Finance Act, which had been proposed by President William Ruto as a measure to strengthen public finances and increase domestic revenue. However, the “Ruto government” defied the court’s order and increased the fuel price tax. This action led to increased transportation and essential commodity costs, sparking civil protests in Kenya.
These protests are led by “Raila Odinga,” the leader of the Kenyan opposition and former prime minister.
The United Nations, which is monitoring the situation in Kenya, reacted to the suppression of violent protesters. Jeremy Laurence, a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, stated in a press statement on Saturday, July 14th, that “reports indicate 23 people were killed, and dozens were injured in last week’s demonstrations.”
Laurence called for “swift, comprehensive, independent, and transparent investigations into the deaths and injuries.” He also said, “Officials must be held accountable. Effective measures must be taken to prevent further deaths and injuries.”
He emphasized, “Given the calls for more protests in the coming week, we call on authorities to ensure the right to peaceful assembly, guaranteed by Kenya’s Constitution and international human rights law.”
Laurence added, “The police must facilitate peaceful gatherings, and any use of force must be guided by the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, and non-discrimination. Firearms should never be used to disperse protests.”
Street protests in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, and several other cities were met with police intervention to suppress the demonstrators, resulting in 23 fatalities and hundreds of injured citizens and protesters, with dozens of protesters also being detained.
The protesters will resume their street protests from July 19th, as per the previous call issued by the opposition of the country.