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Outrage after Rex Kanyike Masai was shot dead during an anti-tax protest

Anti-tax protesters in Kenya are in shock after a 29-year-old man was killed during nationwide protests against a new finance bill.

Rex Kanyike Masai, who protested Thursday in central Nairobi, died of gunshot wounds, a doctor from a hospital in the capital told a local newspaper.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons at peaceful protesters near parliament as lawmakers debated proposals for new taxes.

Amnesty International accused police of using excessive force to stop protesters, many of whom were arrested.

When the protests, dubbed “Occupy Parliament”, began on Tuesday, public outcry forced the government to withdraw several controversial proposals, including a 16-year tax. % on bread and a 2.5% annual tax on vehicles.

But it has not stopped the anger of the mainly young protesters, whose anger is focused on President William Ruto’s government.

Since becoming president, he has introduced several new and unpopular taxes, which critics say will stifle economic growth and lead to job losses.

Police said they had arrived at the scene of the shooting and were investigating the cause of Mr. Masai’s death.

Activist Boniface Mwangi said the young man only brought his identity card and phone and did not carry any weapons.

His mother, Gillian Munyao, told journalists that her son had joined protests after work and was hiding from tear gas when he was shot downtown.

Ms. Munyao added: “The only mistake Rex did was to protect people’s rights, we want justice for our children.”

His father, Chrispin Odawa, said he was a “very calm, gentle and obedient child”.

Officials there said Mr Masai was taken to Bliss Hospital along Moi Avenue in Nairobi, where he was pronounced dead.

“He was shot in the upper mid-thigh. It seems he bled to death before being brought to our facility,” a doctor told Kenyan news site Nation.

Kenyans took to social media to mourn and demand justice for the young man.

“We will print posters with Rex’s face and name around Nairobi and call him a hero,” said Hanifa Farsafi, believed to be one of the organizers of the protest. We will also cover burial costs.” posted on Xformerly Twitter.

“My heart is truly broken… but it wasn’t in vain,” she added.

The country’s independent police watchdog (Ipoa) said has opened an investigation into the shooting.

The opposition coalition, Azimio la Umoja One Kenya, called the shooting a “tragic event with far-reaching consequences”, and called for police chief Japhet Koome to resign.

According to the Kenya Red Cross, a total of 39 people were injured in Thursday’s protests, including eight who are in critical condition.

The most seriously injured were evacuated to Kenyatta National Hospital, the country’s largest referral hospital, for further treatment.

Third, a police officer lost both arms after a tear gas canister exploded before he threw it.

He was among hundreds of police deployed to contain protests in Nairobi.

Amnesty International accused some police officers of having used fire weapons and said more than 100 people were arrested on Thursday.

“There are confirmations of direct shootings verified by the presence of spent cartridges,” the human rights group said.

The victims suffered injuries from “soft tissue injuries and tear gas inhalation,” the agency added.

Faith Odhiambo, president of the Bar Society of Kenya (LSK), condemned police “brutality” and the “illegal” arrest of protesters.

The police service has not yet commented on the allegations.

But stay a previous statementThe police chief has said that protesters will not be allowed to access critical government infrastructure or disrupt congressional proceedings.

Despite the protests, the controversial bill was passed by a majority of MPs in its second reading on Thursday.

It will now move to the next stage, where a committee will consider amendments – and the final vote is expected next Tuesday.

Protesters want lawmakers to reject the entire bill.

The government has often defended the tax measures as necessary to reduce the national debt of nearly $80 billion.


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