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Kenya: Protesters block roads during rally against finance law

Kenya: Protesters block roads during rally against finance law


Kenya: Protesters block roads during rally against finance law


Kenyans returned to the streets of Nairobi on Thursday night, smashing security cameras, burning tires and blocking roads to protest tax increases in parliament's upcoming finance bill.



Clashes
broke out between police and protesters on Thursday, with tear gas used to disperse crowds.



Kenya's
constitution guarantees the right to peaceful protests, but organizers must notify police in advance. If there are no safety concerns, police usually give the go-ahead.



Similar protests took place on Tuesday, resulting in the arrest of more than 200 protesters. Following a meeting between ruling party lawmakers and Kenya's President William Ruto on Tuesday morning, some of the bill's key tax proposals were dropped.



Treasury
committee chair Kuria Kimani said a proposal to introduce a 16% value-added tax on bread had been withdrawn.



Other
controversial levies that were amended included a 2.5% annual motor vehicle tax on insurance.


A
proposed tax on polluting goods will also be changed to apply only to imported goods to encourage local production.



Ruto
last month defended the proposed taxes, saying the country must be financially self-reliant. Lawmakers began debating the bill on Wednesday, with a vote scheduled for Monday.



Last
year's Finance Bill introduced a 1.5% home tax on employees' gross income, despite concerns it would further burden Kenyans already struggling with high living costs.



The
law also doubled value-added tax on petroleum products from 8% to 16%.

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