Kenyan court approves military deployment to quell protests

The Kenyan High Court has approved the deployment of military forces to restore order after days of anti-tax protests that overwhelmed the police.

The nationwide protests, primarily led by young people, oppose the government’s plans to increase taxes and have reportedly resulted in over 20 deaths.

On Thursday, armored military vehicles patrolled the streets of Nairobi as police fired tear gas to disperse protesters who threatened to storm the presidential palace.

Justice Lawrence Mugambi ruled that the military deployment was crucial for protecting government installations but ordered the authorities to clarify the duration and scope of the deployment within two days. He warned that a blanket deployment without clear parameters could lead to the militarization of the country.

The Law Society of Kenya, which had petitioned for the military to return to barracks, stated it “respects but disagrees” with the ruling.

On Wednesday, President William Ruto withdrew the finance bill containing the unpopular tax proposals following violent protests that saw parliament briefly stormed and set ablaze.

Government spokesman Isaac Mwaura described the withdrawal as a “huge blow” to the government’s budget, blaming “misinformed” Kenyans for opposing the bill.

The finance bill aimed to raise taxes to help alleviate the country’s debt burden, as demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

Many protesters, however, remain skeptical of the president’s promised austerity measures and have been angered by reports of arbitrary abductions and the killing of at least 23 people, with some now calling for the president’s resignation.

The state-funded Kenya National Human Rights Commission reported securing the release of over 300 people who had been “illegally detained.”

Mwaura denied the accusations, asserting that “criminal elements” had attempted to exploit the peaceful protests for a coup d’etat.

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