Five killed, dozens injured in Kenya during anti-tax hike protests

Five people were shot dead and dozens wounded in Kenya on Tuesday in mounting anti-tax hike protests, NGOs said, as police clashed with demonstrators who stormed the parliament compound in Nairobi.

Police fired tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and, according to a rights group, live ammunition against protesters, as tensions sharply escalated in protests that have caught the government off guard.

"Despite the assurance by the government that the right to assembly would be protected and facilitated, today's protests have spiraled into violence," said a joint statement from several NGOS, including Amnesty Kenya, which reported the dead and wounded.

The White House appealed for calm and more than 10 Western nations to voiced their deep concern over the violence.

The rallies have galvanised outrage over proposed tax hikes and simmering anger over a cost-of-living crisis.

"This is the voice of the young people of Kenya," said Elizabeth Nyaberi, 26, a lawyer at a protest. "Although they are tear gassing us, but we don't care."

"We are here to speak for our generations and the generations to come," she added.

The protests had been largely peaceful so far but chaos erupted in the capital Tuesday, with crowds throwing stones at police, pushing past barricades and ultimately entering the grounds of Kenya's parliament.

(with newswires)

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