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Police clash with protesters, dozens arrested in Nairobi Finance Bill demos

Police on Tuesday arrested dozens of protesters within Nairobi streets for taking part in the Finance Bill, 2024 which police have since declared illegal.

Dubbed ‘Occupy Parliament’, the demonstrations are meant to pressure lawmakers against passing the bill which the House will consider on Tuesday.

Among those arrested was activist and journalist Hanifa Adan who was protesting at the National Archives.

Police officers in uniform and civilian clothes were seen handcuffing those who were wearing black T-shirts and forcing them onto a stationary police van.

Outside Nation Centre along Kimathi Street, protesters whose plan was to march to parliament was temporarily thwarted by anti-riot police, who fired tear gas canisters at them.

Others were arrested along Moi Avenue and near the Kenya National Archives which was to be one of the assembling points for protestors.

The theme of the day was for the protesters to dress in black t-shirts which some of the protestors were distributing to those who didn’t have.

Motorists, commuters and pedestrians were also caught in the incident with some being compelled to open their luggage for inspection by the police.

Earlier, Nairobi Regional Police Commander Adamson Bungei outlawed any plan to organise protests in Nairobi saying it was illegal even as the organisers said they had informed the police of their plans as required.

Mr Bungei said no one had applied for a gathering or picketing permit as required, terming it illegal.

According to the police boss, they only received a ‘faulty’ document dated June last year, which he said doesn’t meet the protest permission threshold.

“The notification they left at Central is dated June 17, 2023. It is faulty. We can’t allow them. No demonstration. Kenyans should be allowed to do their business and those with grievances should direct them where they know well,” he said.

The ‘Occupy Parliament’ protest has been organised by Kenyans who have been mobilising on various social media platforms for weeks under the hashtag ‘Reject Finance Bill’ to rally numbers to pressure MPs to shoot down contentious provisions in the Bill.