Kenya: Police fire tear gas during clashes with protesters in Nairobi over controversial finance bill

Police have fired tear gas at dozens of protesters in Kenya's capital and blocked off roads to the presidential palace as crowds took to the streets again nationwide.

The demonstrations took place over a controversial tax hike bill despite the president bowing to pressure to withdraw it.

Police fired tear gas canisters at groups of protesters trying to meet up within the central business district of Nairobi.

Crowds there, as well as in Mombasa, Kisumu and elsewhere, called for leader William Ruto to go further and step down.

At least 22 protesters were reportedly killed on Tuesday after thousands of people stormed the country's national parliament.

And demonstrators still decided to go ahead with a protest march on Thursday.

Mr Ruto on Wednesday withdrew the finance bill, including new taxes, and said he intends to make budget cuts instead.

Kenya's deputy president Rigathi Gachagua has issued a plea for the demonstrations to be called off.

One protester, Boniface Mwangi, urged demonstrators to march peacefully as a mark of respect for those who have died.

"Invasion of the State House isn't a solution," he wrote in a post on X.

But activists warn the stakes are higher than ever as Mr Ruto has committed to quashing unrest "at whatever cost".

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Mr Ruto on Wednesday.

He thanked the president for taking steps to reduce tensions in the country.

Read more from Sky News:
New 'grace period' revealed for private car parks
Jay Slater's mum says family want to withdraw GoFundMe money

In May, President Ruto became the first African leader in 16 years to pay a state visit to Washington.

On Tuesday, the US declared Kenya its first major non-NATO ally in sub-Saharan Africa.