Kenyan Protesters Gear Up for Nationwide Strike

Kenyan Protesters Gear Up for Nationwide Strike

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Kenya braced for a nationwide strike on Tuesday in response to a call by youth protesters for a countrywide shutdown, as opposition to the government’s proposed tax hikes gathers momentum.

The mainly Gen-Z-led demonstrations have taken President William Ruto’s government by surprise, with the Kenyan leader saying over the weekend that he was ready to speak with the protesters.

Discontent over the already high cost of living spiraled into nationwide rallies last week, sparked by the Ruto administration’s proposed tax hikes in the annual finance bill, which parliament must vote on by June 30.

The protests were mostly peaceful, as Ruto noted Sunday in his first public comments on the demonstrations. But the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) watchdog and rights groups said that two people had died following Thursday’s rallies.

Protest organizers called for the police to be held accountable and reiterated their demands for the finance bill to be scrapped in its entirety, AFP reported.

Several organizations, including Amnesty International Kenya, said at least 200 people were wounded in the protests in Nairobi.

The tax hikes will pile further pressure on Kenyans, with well-paid jobs remaining out of reach for many young people.

Kenya has one of the most dynamic economies in East Africa but a third of its 52 million people live in poverty.

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