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MPs fail to resume debate as protesters storm Parliament

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Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, the Clerk of Parliament, and several MPs reportedly sought refuge in an underground tunnel to escape the enraged crowd.

Members of Parliament on Tuesday failed to resume debate on the Appropriations Bill after protesters stormed the National Assembly on Tuesday, during the ongoing anti-Finance Bill protests.

Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, the Clerk of Parliament, and several MPs reportedly sought refuge in an underground tunnel to escape the enraged crowd.

The protesters, who were opposing President William Ruto's Finance Bill 2024, commandeered the parliamentary cafeteria, consuming the prepared meals.

The chaos ensued shortly after demonstrators infiltrated the House, having been in fierce confrontations with police while chanting anti-government slogans since morning. They gained access to the heavily secured Parliament Buildings via Uhuru Highway.

Witnesses reported that police opened fire, resulting in one death and several injuries. The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) condemned the police actions terming it a violation of human rights.

“Police have shot four protesters, as witnessed by KHRC, killing one. We strongly condemn the police killing. Such actions are unacceptable and constitute a grave violation of human rights. Justice and accountability are imperative. We will vigorously push for police accountability,” the human rights watchdog tweeted after the clash.

Before the breach, at least ten protesters had been reportedly injured by gunfire. Bodies of protesters who had been shot were seen being collected from the scene.

In the aftermath, a section of the Parliament building was set ablaze, adding to the turmoil. Video footage from the scene depicted parts of the Senate engulfed in flames and teargas permeating the parliamentary grounds.

Nairobi City Hall was also not spared as videos seen by the Eastleigh Voice showed smoke coming from the building.

The Tuesday deadly confrontation was the culmination of Occupy Parliament protests led by youths across the country, who sought to stop the Bill from being passed.

Thousands of youths took to several avenues and streets in Nairobi’s Central Business District where businesses remained closed.

By midmorning, police and the youth had engaged in running battles, with the uniformed officers firing teargas canisters and water cannons at the spirited demonstrators.

However, when news spread that Parliament had adopted the bill, more and more protestors streamed into town.

The demonstrations also took place in several other counties like Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyeri among others.

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