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Kenya’s President To Meet Protesters, Considers Tax Reform

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President William Ruto of Kenya expressed his willingness to engage in dialogue with the thousands of young demonstrators who took to the streets nationwide, protesting proposed tax hikes. Ruto’s remarks came on Sunday, as he acknowledged the peaceful nature of the protests.

A spontaneous uprising, fueled by social media and spearheaded by young Kenyans from Generation Z, has taken the government of President William Ruto by surprise. As the protests gain momentum, they reflect a growing discontent with Ruto’s economic agenda, with many taking to live streams to share their grievances.

“I am very proud of our young people… they have stepped forward peacefully and I want to tell them we are going to engage them,” Ruto said in his first public comments on the protests.

“We are going to have a conversation so that together we can build a greater nation,” Ruto said during a church service in the Rift Valley town of Nyahururu.

Despite eyewitness accounts of violence, President Ruto opted for a more diplomatic tone, labeling the protests “peaceful”. This comes after rights groups confirmed the deaths of two individuals during Thursday’s clashes in Nairobi.

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The protesters, who have declared a nationwide strike for June 25, remained silent in response to President Ruto’s comments, their resolve seemingly unshaken.

While the protests were largely calm, law enforcement deployed tear gas and water cannons to break up crowds gathered near the parliament building, marking a tense turning point in the demonstrations.

A Kenya Human Rights Commission official told AFP on Saturday that 21-year-old Evans Kiratu was “hit by a tear gas canister” during the protests and died in hospital.

While the protests were characterized by restraint, the deployment of tear gas and water cannons by law enforcement near parliament marked a flashpoint, temporarily disrupting the calm and underscoring the underlying tensions.

An official probe has been launched into claims that a 29-year-old man was shot by police in Nairobi on Friday, in the aftermath of the protests, according to the police watchdog agency.

The IPOA announced that it has gathered evidence of a deadly police shooting on Thursday, marking a grave development in the ongoing probe into alleged police misconduct.

The Eastern Updates 

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