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“What I saw in the streets is not a government that wants to listen, but to kill its people.” Young people recount horrific experiences of police brutality during Kenya tax protests

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ActionAid shares testimonies from young people, who were brutalised in Kenya while protesting the Finance Bill, about their horrific experiences at the hands of law enforcement agents. Sadly, several youth activists affiliated with ActionAid were beaten, shot at, arrested, and teargassed.

The young people have described their personal experiences at the hands of the security services, raising concerns about a blatant disregard for constitutional freedoms and fundamental rights.

Faith* a 26-year-old from Nairobi recounted her experience:

“Tuesday 25th June was the day we saw the full wrath of the police. The protestors were peaceful, but the police used so much force and a lot of people were killed; more than what the government is reporting. I went to the hospital for a brief period because I inhaled so much tear gas and was having difficulty breathing.

Currently, I am afraid of being abducted because I have been vocal on issues of governance and accountability. The reality of this is so close to home after a very close friend of mine was also abducted, but he has been released.

What I saw in the streets was not a government that wanted to listen but kill its people. Our only crime was to exercise our constitutional right to protest and demand better from our government.”

Another young protestor, Bruce* a 30-year-old from Dandora, shares his experience: 

"I never thought I would live to see the day when our government would set the police and military on us for simply exercising our constitutional right to protest. I am still shaken at the sight of unarmed and innocent civilians being beaten like criminals, not citizens. We were just asking to be heard, for a better future. Now, all I feel is anger and despair."

So many of my friends sustained injuries from the clashes with the security forces, luckily, I was not hurt myself, so I am helping to coordinate medical care for my injured colleagues.  

We need the government to come out and account for their actions.”

ActionAid urgently calls for the government to uphold the right to peaceful assembly, as guaranteed in the Kenyan constitution. Additionally, there must be accountability for the violence against young people in the past week, and the international community must call for an immediate end to the violent clampdown of protesters and a transparent investigation into these disturbing events.

Contact the ActionAid press office on or on +263776665065.