Anti-tax demonstrations rock 35 counties as youths take over Parliament Buildings


Anti-Finance Bill protesters demonstrate in Garissa town on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Youthful protesters took over the streets in major towns and cities across the country.
  • In Nairobi, the main roads heading into the central business district were deserted
  • President William Ruto’s backyard of Eldoret erupted after demonstrators turned chaotic.

Violent demonstrations rocked 35 of the country’s 47 counties on Tuesday as protesters expressed their rage against punitive taxes contained in the Finance Bill, 2024.

Waving placards and chanting anti-government slogans, youthful protesters took over the streets in major towns and cities across the country.

Kindling flames set alight by malcontents of the zoomer generation, or Gen Z in short, were fanned into roaring fires of anger as older citizens joined the calls for the rejection of the proposed tax increases.


Youths protest against the Finance Bill in Kutus town, Kirinyaga County on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: George Munene | Nation Media Group

In Nairobi, the main roads heading into the central business district were deserted, including Uhuru Highway, Ngong Road, University Way, Thika Road and Jogoo Road.

There was a heavy security presence around Parliament Buildings as police mounted barricades to protect the critical facility ahead of the afternoon vote.

At some point, the surging crowd overpowered the police who were forced to lob tear gas cannisters to disperse them.

President William Ruto’s backyard of Eldoret erupted after demonstrators turned chaotic, burning three vehicles, two banks and a section of county government offices.

An effort by an anti-protests group to re-erect a wheelbarrow, the symbol of President Ruto’s ruling United Democratic Alliance party, in the town centre was repulsed by the protesters.

Donned in black t-shirts and reflectors, the protesters later in the afternoon stormed Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi's luxurious Çlub Timba XO, destroying property and looting alcohol.


An anti-Finance Bill protestor displays a placard at Coast Bus roundabout in Mombasa on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

The protesters expressed their displeasure with the Kenya Kwanza government, accusing it of being insensitive to the plight of Kenyans.

Earlier in the afternoon, the marauding youths stormed the Eldoret Administration Police Line, demanding the release of a colleague allegedly arrested by police officers.

Similar scenes were witnessed in Kitale in Trans Nzoia County, Lodwar in Turkana County and Kapenguria in West Pokot County where businesses came to a standstill.

Protesters in Lodwar defied a warning by Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai against the anti-tax protests.

In Mombasa, police accosted protesters on Moi Avenue, urging them to maintain peaceful demonstrations.

Protests marches

The youths held protest marches in the city centre, bringing it to a standstill.

At some point, they attempted to make their way out of the island through Nyali Bridge but apparently changed tack and headed back to town, making their way to the Mama Ngina Waterfront Park.

In Tana River County, protesters marched towards Galole MP Said Hiribae’s office in Hola town. The legislator had been absent during the first session of voting in Parliament.

In Kwale County, the demonstrations, which started in Ukunda, almost paralysed transport along the busy Likoni-Lungalunga highway due to heavy traffic.

The protesters stormed Msambweni MP Feisal Bader's office in Ukunda, which was heavily guarded, demanding that he reject the Finance Bill. In Taita Taveta County, the youth took their demonstrations to Voi town.

‘Don’t kill our children’, Azimio MPs shout as police try to disperse the crowd outside Parliament

Compared to last week, the protest in Kisumu experienced a massive turnout. At some point, the protesters clashed with the police on Kenyatta Avenue after some of them threatened to storm Central Police Station.

They converged at the famous Kondele roundabout before marching over three kilometres to the city centre. Efforts by hundreds others to march to Kisumu State Lodge were thwarted after police lobbed tear gas cannisters and dispersed them.

Shops remained closed for the better part of the day as the demonstrations affected both transport and businesses within the lakeside city.


Police officers look on as anti-Finance Bill protesters demonstrate on the streets of Nakuru on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Boniface Mwangi | Nation Media Group

And in Homa Bay County, protesters set ablaze a UDA office in the outskirts of Homa Bay Town.

Similar protests were witnessed in Yala and Bondo towns in Siaya County, with residents taking to the streets in droves.

In Nyeri, Hundreds of demonstrators brought business to a standstill in Karatina town while calling on the government to listen to the people.

MP's car damaged while trying to escape protesters surrounding Parliament

Addressing the protesters, Governor Mutahi Kahiga urged them not to relent in the quest to rid the country of “dictators”, whom he accused of forcing the Financial Bill down the throats of Kenyans.

“I thank all the young people who have shown leadership and decided to take the ruling class head on because the older generation appears to have no manners,” he said.

In Nanyuki town in Laikipia County, police lobbed tear gas cannisters at hundreds of youths who had tried to force their way into the Laikipia East Constituency Development Fund office.

In Meru County, protests rocked Meru, Kianjai, Mikinduri, Nkubu and other towns. In Kianjai, protesters barricaded the Meru-Maua highway with burning tyres, disrupting transport.


An anti-Finance Bill protesters displays a placard in Voi town, Taita Taveta County on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika | Nation Media Group

In Kirinyaga, junior secondary school teachers staged a demonstration, accusing the government of plotting to reduce funds allocated to employ them on permanent pensionable terms in the Finance Bill 2024.

Chanting slogans as they demonstrated in Kutus town, the teachers vowed to resist any attempts by the State to slash the Sh13.4 billion budget.

“Our funds should not be reduced at all, we need to be employed permanently," said Mr Josphat Kariuki, who represents the JSS teachers in the region.

Separately, Kirinyaga Woman Representative Njeri Maina on Monday told off Kenya Kwanza MPs who were critical of their colleagues opposed to the Finance Bill 2024. She said their decision to oppose the Bill should be respected.

Speaking in Nyagathi village in Kariti Ward, Ndia Constituency, Ms Maina accused some Kenya Kwanza MPs of intimidating their colleagues who have dissenting opinions on the Bill.

Protesters storm home of National Assembly Finance Committee Chairman Kuria Kimani

In Murang'a, hundreds of youths poured into the streets to express solidarity with the #RejectFinanceBill2024 movement, branding Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Ndindi Nyoro a traitor.

Protesters in Kisii and Nyamira counties roamed the streets chanting “Ruto must go”.

The wave of protests was also felt in Nakuru, Bomet, Narok, Kericho, Samburu and Nyandarua counties, where youths expressed their undying determination in opposing the tax proposals. They stormed MPs’ offices while castigating them for voting in support of the Bill.


Anti-Finance Bill protesters demonstrate on the streets of Kisii town on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

In Kericho and Bomet towns, protesters marched through the main streets. Contingents of police officers escorted them without event as other residents watched from the safety of their shops, balconies, and verandahs.

In Nakuru, protesters temporarily blocked the busy Nakuru-Eldoret highway before police dispersed them by lobbing tear gas canisters.

In Nyahururu, the protests rocked Magumu and Njabini in Kinangop as well as Olkalau town. Residents burnt effigies of local leaders as they castigated them for voting in support of the punitive taxes.

Anti-Finance Bill protesters leave a trail of destruction after storming parliament

The protesters barricaded the Nyahururu-Gilgil-Nairobi highway for the better part of the morning before they were dispersed by police.

However, most businesses in Nakuru City and major towns such as Molo, Gilgil, Naivasha, Olkalau, Kericho and Bomet remained shut as owners feared invasions by protesters.


Molo residents protest against the Finance Bill on June 25, 2024.

Photo credit: John Njoroge | Nation Media Group

In Mumias, a group of the protesters attempted to access the Mumias West CDF office but were repulsed by youths who were manning the entrance.

Seven out of 13 MPs in Kakamega County supported the Finance Bill 2024 during its second reading in parliament.

In Makueni County, youthful demonstrators accused Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse of going against their wishes by supporting the bill.

Reporting by Kevin Cheruiyot, Victor Raballa, Rushdie Oudia, David Maende, Stephen Munyiri, Mwangi Muiruri, Gerotge Munene, Mwangi Ndirangu, David Muchui, Jurgen Nambeka, Stephen Oduor, Siago Cece and Lucy Mkanyika, Ruth Mbula, Stanley Oduor, Vitalis Kimutai, Mercy Koskei, Waikwa Maina, John Njoroge, Geoffrey Ondieki, George Odiwuor, Kassim Adinasi, Shaban Makokha, Pius Maundu, Loise Wangui, Titus Ominde, Caroline Wafula, Evans Jaola, Oscar Kakai and Sammy Lutta