Kenya Protests Simmer After Deadly Week Of Demonstrations

A HIGH Court in Kenya has ruled in favour of a petition demanding a halt to the use of potentially deadly weaponry by police.

Hundreds gathered for the funeral of a teenage demonstrator killed during Kenya’s anti-government protests as the death toll from days of unrest rose to 27.

Aljazeera reports that three more protesters died overnight Friday as police continued a violent crackdown with the Kenyan High Court ordering security forces to halt the firing of live rounds, rubber-coated metal bullets, tear gas and water cannon into crowds.

The turmoil unfolded as young activists successfully forced the government to shelve $2.7bn in tax hikes this week, and now focus on ending years of what they see as endemic corruption and shoddy governance.

Protesters say the finance bill that President William Ruto abandoned on Wednesday was only a symptom of the problems plaguing a country, where many young people have few job prospects despite strong economic growth.

After pledging to scrap the tax plan, Ruto now faces growing pressure to resign.

The High Court ruled in favour of a petition submitted by a lawyer representing the political opposition and human rights groups demanding a halt to the use of potentially deadly weaponry by police against protesters. It also ordered police to refrain from “extrajudicial killing, abduction, and torture” against the antitax demonstrators.

Demas Kiprono, acting executive director of the Kenyan Section International Commission of Jurists, told Al Jazeera the move by the High Court to ban violent police tactics shows an acknowledgement that “something has gone wrong”.

“The petition claims the weapons and tactics used by police during the protests were egregious and violated a raft of human rights from expression, assembly, to the right to life,” said Kiprono.

But he noted the court does not have any mechanism to ensure police comply with the ruling. “So it is upon other instruments of government – the national police service commission, the executive – to respect this order.”

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