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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Obama’s half-sister teargassed at Kenya protest

Auma Obama was giving a live interview when Kenyan police began dispersing the protesters

Auma Obama, the half-sister of former US President Barack Obama, was teargassed in Kenya during a live interview with CNN amid anti-tax protests that swept Nairobi on Tuesday.

Obama, a Kenyan-British activist, was speaking to correspondent Larry Madowo alongside a group of young protesters who were demonstrating against a controversial finance bill that aims to raise $2.7 billion through increased taxes on things such as bread and car ownership to compensate for the country’s budget deficit.

Read more: Protesters interrupt Biden, Obama, Clinton at $25 million New York fundraiser

“I’m here because look at what’s happening. Young Kenyans are demonstrating for their rights. They are demonstrating with flags and banners,” Obama said before her group was apparently hit with tear gas.

“I can’t even see anymore, we’re being teargassed,” she said.

In another clip, apparently shot moments later, Obama stated that she couldn’t believe that the Kenyan police would “teargas their own people,” who she claimed were peacefully protesting.

“Listen to them. Listen to these children, they’re the future,” she pleaded with the authorities.

Read more: Ex-advisor of Obama, Stuart Seldowitz arrested for Islamophobic tirade

Meanwhile, according to media reports, Kenyan police have resorted to gunfire after tear gas and water cannons failed to disperse demonstrators who have been trying to storm the local parliament. Local daily The Star reported that demonstrators torched at least one police vehicle and set fire to a section of the National Assembly building.

At least eight people are said to have been shot amid the turmoil, and as many as five protesters are believed to have been killed.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission has condemned the violence committed by the police and has stated that it has witnessed officers shooting at least four people, killing one.

“We strongly condemn the police killing. Such actions are unacceptable and constitute a grave violation of human rights. Justice and accountability are imperative. We will vigorously push for police accountability,” the NGO wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Tuesday’s protests come after youth-led demonstrations broke out in Kenya last week demanding the withdrawal of the controversial finance bill and the resignation of MPs behind the legislation.

Despite the demonstrations, Kenyan lawmakers passed the Finance Bill with 195 votes to 106, and the legislation now only needs the final signature of President William Ruto. He has said, however, that he is “proud” of the protesters and has stated that he would like to have a dialogue with them.