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Raila: I am deeply troubled by the violent, deadly crackdown on young, peaceful protesters

Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition party Raila Odinga has condemned the murder, arrests, detentions and surveillance of the anti-Finance Bill protesters.

Raila, in a statement on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, said the peaceful demonstration has turned to violence with several protesters being killed by the police for exercising their democratic rights.

The former Prime Minister further blamed the national government for turning a blind eye to the cry of Kenyans on the high cost of living.

“I am deeply troubled by the violent and deadly crackdown on young, peaceful protesters exercising their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. I am disturbed at the murders, arrests, detentions and surveillance being perpetrated by police on boys and girls who are only seeking to be heard over taxation policies that are stealing both their present and future,” Raila said.

“Matters that should have been resolved through dialogue and humility have degenerated into developments that have never been witnessed in the 61-year history of our country since independence.”

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party Raila Odinga. PHOTO/ @RailaOdinga / X

The opposition leader further stated that the Kenya Kwanza politicians and government officials have been dismissing and ridiculing every dissenting opinion of the protesters adding that the country is paying a steep price for the government’s obstinance.

“We had hoped that the government would show goodwill and humility and at least listen to the country’s children. Instead, every dissenting opinion has been dismissed and ridiculed by government officials and ruling party politicians and such dissenting voices are now being silenced by brutality and murder,” Raila said.

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Police brutality

Raila accused the police of going against the constitution which guarantees freedom of peaceful demonstration adding that extra-judicial killing must stop.

“The constitution seems to have been suspended. Kenya cannot afford to kill its children just because the children are asking for food, jobs and a listening ear. Police must therefore immediately stop shooting innocent, peaceful and unarmed protesting children who are asking for guarantees of a better tomorrow from the State,” Raila said.

“We cannot allow that. We can’t and won’t tolerate any extra minute of this murder spree and violence that could have been and can still be avoided.”

Odinga further called the East African Community, the African Union and the United Nations to immediately be seized of the unfolding violent protests in Kenya to save lives.

“I mourn with the families that have lost loved ones and stand with them in the ongoing struggle for justice and economic liberation. I am calling on the East African Community, the African Union and the United Nations to immediately be seized of the unfolding situation in Kenya to save lives and the country,” Odinga said.

 

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party Raila Odinga
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party Raila Odinga. PHOTO/ @RailaOdinga / X

Finance Bill

The Azimio leader told President William Ruto to unconditionally suspend the controversial Bill and make way for dialogue.

“The starting point to ending this impasse and cruel bloodletting is for the government to immediately and unconditionally withdraw the Finance Bill and make way for a fresh start and dialogue,” Raila said.

 

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