Obama’s half-sister hit by tear gas during protests in Kenya

Obama’s half-sister hit by tear gas during protests in Kenya
Obama’s half-sister hit by tear gas during protests in Kenya

By Char Adams – NBCNews

A stepsister of Barack Obama was hit by tear gas on Tuesday in Kenya while supporting protesters demanding that lawmakers vote against a bill to raise taxes.

Auma Obama, a Kenyan activist and half-sister of the former president, was wiping her face and struggling to breathe as she spoke to CNN, moments after being hit by tear gas while demonstrating in Nairobi.

“I can’t believe these young people are just trying to demonstrate for their rights,” Obama said in the interview with CNN. He said he had attended the protest to support the young protesters, “and to tell them that we understand that they need to use their voice and they are tear gassing us. They are throwing tear gas at us. “We have flags and banners, nothing more.”

Protesters during a protest against a new tax law in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 25, 2024.Brian Inganga / AP

Thousands of protesters packed Kenya’s Parliament after lawmakers approved the tax hike on Tuesday, then fled through a tunnel as protesters stormed the building, The Associated Press reported. At least five people were shot dead, dozens injured and 21 are missing after protesters clashed with police, according to a joint statement from Amnesty International and other civic groups in the country.

Kenyans, already frustrated by the high cost of living in the country, They have opposed the tax increase which, according to them, will only make life more difficult. They demonstrated under the slogan “7 days of rage” to fight against the Finance Law 2024, which will increase taxes on millions of people, according to The Hill and The New York Times. The controversial tax increase aims to eliminate part of the country’s debt, which amounts to $80 billion. Kenya has experienced high inflation in recent years, with its residents increasingly crushed by the high cost of food, rent and utilities.

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The Kenya Human Rights Commission on Tuesday shared videos of police shooting at protesters and using tear gas amid the chaos. The group has called on the president, William Ruto, to “end the repression of peaceful protesters.”

Auma Obama, in Hamburg, Germany, on November 3, 2016.Daniel Karmann / picture-alliance / dpa via AP file

Young people have largely led the movement against the finance bill, using social media to galvanize protesters using the hashtag #RejectFinanceBill2024. Young people who voted for Ruto in 2022 praised his promises of economic relief. Now, those protesting say they feel betrayed.

“I believed their lies,” Oscar Saina, a voter, told The Associated Press. “Now I’m out here regretting giving him the vote.”

Protesters set fire to part of the main entrance to Parliament, marched with the Kenyan flag and chanted “Ruto must go”The New York Times reported.

[Padres de Louisiana alegan que la ley de los Diez Mandamientos viola la Constitución]

Along with Amnesty International, other organizations such as the Kenya Human Rights Commission and the Kenya Law Society have accused the police of kidnapping dozens of Kenyans. Faith Odhiambo, president of the Bar Association, has denounced the alleged kidnappings in a series of posts on the social network X. The group condemned Ruto.

“All Kenyans who have lost their lives today in the fight to end corruption and seek economic liberation are in the hands of a rogue and inconsiderate president,” the law society said in a statement that Odhiambo shared on social media.

Ruto attended an African Union retreat on the outskirts of Nairobi on Tuesday and has not publicly referred to the day’s protests.

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Through tears, Auma Obama urged Kenyan leaders on Tuesday to listen to the young protesters.

“How can they tear gas their own people? “Listen to them. Listen to these children, they are the future”.

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