Kenya protests: Trauma amid abductions, says lawyer

Anti-tax protesters in Kenya who were abducted during a recent crackdown are reported to be severely traumatized, according to lawyers. The crackdown targeted individuals suspected of leading demonstrations against a now-withdrawn finance bill.

Most of those abducted, estimated at 35 people, have been released, but the Law Society of Kenya reports that 10 activists remain missing.

The government has defended the police actions, attributing them to thwarting what they described as an attempt to instigate a coup d’├ętat during otherwise peaceful protests.

Lawyers representing the abducted individuals describe harrowing experiences, including confiscation of personal devices and detention in intimidating conditions.

President William Ruto, responding to public pressure, withdrew the controversial finance bill after violent clashes between protesters and police resulted in at least 23 deaths.

Ruto pledged to end state-sponsored abductions, although rights groups dispute the government’s claim that all abducted individuals have been released.

The ordeal has left many of the released protesters traumatized and fearful, with some expressing a desire to leave Nairobi for their village homes or even to leave the country entirely. Rights groups have condemned the abductions, which they view as a direct assault on the rule of law.

The High Court has authorized military intervention to restore order following the protests, with a judge stipulating a timeframe and rules of engagement for the deployment.

Government officials lament the withdrawal of the finance bill, highlighting its impact on the national budget and blaming what they term as misinformation campaigns for public opposition.

The situation remains tense as Kenya grapples with the aftermath of the protests and the broader implications for civil liberties and governance.

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