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Protesters shot dead and MPs run for cover as Kenyan parliament stormed

At least five people have been killed and MPs were forced to run for cover as protesters stormed Kenya’s parliament building in capital city Nairobi on Tuesday.

Footage from the scene showed flames rising from the legislature and bodies in the street as protests over proposed tax rises took a violent turn.

Paramedics reported that at least 10 protesters were shot dead in clashes with police, with dozens more injured, after officers opened fire. A journalist from the AFP news agency was shot and wounded, Kenyan media reported.

A Reuters journalist at the scene counted at least five dead bodies on the street.

In chaotic scenes, demonstrators overwhelmed police and breached the parliament compound. Kenya’s KTN News channel showed smashed windows and furniture inside the premises, and MPs fleeing the scene.

The broadcaster later claimed the government had threatened to shut it down over its coverage of the protests.

“We want to shut down parliament and every MP should go down and resign,” said one protester trying to enter parliament. “We will have a new government.”

Footage posted on social media by Kenyan reporters and protesters showed parliamentary offices being raided and set on fire, along with a nightclub said to be owned by an MP.

Former US president Barack Obama’s sister Auma attended the protest and was tear gassed during a live interview with CNN.

Opposition MP Caleb Amisi posted on X: “PLEASE @BarackObama, you welcomed ruto to USA laughing. Now ask him why he is teargasing your sister Auma?”

Protests and clashes also took place in several other cities and towns across the country over plans to raise taxes despite a damaging cost of living crisis. Many demonstrators are also calling for the resignation of President William Ruto.

Mr Ruto won an election in 2022 on a platform of supporting Kenya’s working poor, but has been caught between the demands of the International Monetary Fund, which is urging the government to cut deficits to access more funding, and the population.

The parliament has approved a finance bill, moving it through to a third reading by lawmakers, that aims to raise more than £2bn in taxes. Mr Ruto’s government claims this is necessary to reduce debt liabilities, with interest payments alone consuming 37 per cent of annual revenue.

The government has already made some concessions, promising to scrap proposed new taxes on bread, cooking oil, car ownership and financial transactions. But that has not been enough to satisfy protesters.

Police also fired tear gas in Eldoret, Mr Ruto’s hometown in western Kenya, where crowds of protesters filled the streets and many businesses were closed for fear of violence.

Clashes also broke out in the coastal city of Mombasa and demonstrations took place in Kisumu, on Lake Victoria, and Garissa in eastern Kenya, where police blocked the main road to Somalia’s port of Kismayu.

With additional reporting from agencies

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