More than 300 including lawmaker arrested after Kenya protests

More than 300 people including an opposition lawmaker have been arrested following violent anti-government protests in major Kenyan cities that left several people dead, according to officials.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has called for civil disobedience and weekly nationwide demonstrations against President William Ruto’s government, recent tax hikes, and the rising cost of living.Protesters clashed with police on Wednesday as they took to the streets of the capital, Nairobi, and elsewhere to protest against new tax hikes that were imposed despite a court-ordered suspension. Police were accused of a heavy-handed response and criticised for using tear gas against civilians, including at a school where dozens of children were hospitalised.In a statement on Thursday, Kenya’s Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki said “acts of lawlessness … can neither be accepted nor tolerated”.

“There is no relationship between lowering the cost of living and destruction of critical infrastructure built using public funds. That is hooliganism, lawlessness, and a recipe for anarchy,” Kindiki said.

He said 312 people “who directly or indirectly planned, orchestrated, or financed” the protests had been arrested and would be charged, including a member of parliament.Local media identified him as Mavoko MP Patrick Makau, saying he was released following his arrest but was asked to present himself again to authorities on Friday.

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