Several feared dead as police drive back Kenyan protesters from parliament

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Several feared dead as police drive back Kenyan protesters from parliament
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AGENCIES | Several people are feared dead from the clashes between police and protesters.

A paramedic has told the Reuters news agency that at least 10 protesters have been killed so far.

Pictures and videos shared on X, formerly Twitter, shows some protesters in a pool of blood on the streets as a cloud of teargas engulfed the areas around parliament.

The death toll is likely to rise as police continue to battle the protesters inside and outside parliament.

Ambulances can be seen carrying the injured from the streets.

Some 45 injured people have been sent to Nairobi's Kenyatta National Hospital, the country's biggest referral hospital.

"Seven being female with different kinds of injuries... We have had no mortalities from the demonstration so far."

Meanwhile, privately owned KTN TV station says it has received shutdown threats from the government for covering the on-going protests.

The 24-hour news channel has, however, pledged to stand firm and continue its journalistic duties despite the shutdown order.

"In the event the authorities make good their threats to shut us down, we shall continue bringing you the unfolding events on our social media platforms," the station's newscaster says.

For several weeks, Kenyans have been protesting over a finance bill that proposed tax rises. Many felt that they were already burdened with a high cost of living.

The government has said that it needs to increase the money it gets in order to fund services without increasing the debt burden.

Among the initial proposals were a 16% sales tax on bread and a 25% duty on cooking oil.

In response to the outcry, the government rowed back on these and other measures, but an amended bill was passed on Tuesday that still included tax rises.

The eco-levy was maintained that would increase the cost of imported products such as sanitary pads and babies' nappies - though not on those products made in Kenya.

President William Ruto has acknowledged the protests and promised he would hold talks to address the concerns of the youth who are at the forefront of the demonstrations.

But that did little to calm tensions.

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