Tight security as key roads leading to Parliament closed ahead of anti-Finance Bill demos

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Police water cannon trucks are also being used to barricade key roundabouts leading to Parliament.

Several roads leading to the Parliament have been closed ahead of nationwide protests against the Finance Bill, 2024. They include Parliament Road and City Hall Way.

In Nairobi, a significant contingent of anti-riot police officers from various units has been deployed to maintain order in the capital.

Police water cannon trucks are also being used to barricade key roundabouts leading to Parliament.

Access to the area has been fully restricted, with entry allowed only to authorized personnel upon proper identification.

The protests, mobilised under the hashtag #RejectFinanceBill2024, commenced early in Nairobi’s Central Business District.

Protesters gathered at Nairobi Archives and Afya Center from as early as 8 a.m., holding placards while chanting “Ruto must go” slogans.

The demonstrators, largely spearheaded by Generation Z (Gen Z), have called on Kenyans to come out in large numbers and exercise their rights by demonstrating and rejecting the Finance Bill.

“Total Shut Down. We call on everyone to come out and join the nationwide strike. Gen Z is granting all hard-working Kenyans a day off,” read a post on the scheduled demos.

Protesters have vowed to occupy the August House to prevent Members of Parliament from passing the controversial Finance Bill, which is scheduled for its third and final reading today, Tuesday, June 25, 2024, in the afternoon.

They argue that the bill’s various tax increases and economic measures will unduly burden ordinary citizens.

Riot act

On Monday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki stated that while demonstrations are permitted, they must adhere to the rule of law.

He warned against any attempts to march to State House or forcibly access Parliament buildings and other government areas.

“They must not obstruct, block, vandalise or otherwise destroy any private or public property. Must adhere to the laws of Kenya including the Protected Areas Act that limits access to certain critical infrastructure for national security reasons. Must not access critical infrastructure for the supply of power or other amenities,” he said.

Protesters have also been warned against interfering with road, rail, sea or air transport in any manner whatsoever.

“The government of Kenya will respect, uphold, promote and fulfil the inalienable constitutional right of every person peaceably and unarmed to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions to authorities,” Kindiki said.

The CS  assured that the police would remain neutral but firm.

“The National security organs of our country shall remain neutral, apolitical but firm in enforcing the law of our country and no form of lawlessness is going to be entertained whatsoever,” he said.

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