Evans Kiratu dies after violent police response to peaceful anti-tax protest

tear gas canister

A police officer fires a tear gas canister at protesters in Nairobi during day 3 of the Occupy Parliament protests on June 20, 2024. (Inset) Evans Kitaru who died while receiving treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation

Another member of the youth-led anti-tax protests has died, bringing to two the number of people killed and 200 injured in the protests that have taken place in at least 19 towns across Kenya.

Evans Kiratu, 21, died after allegedly being hit by a tear gas canister fired by the police.

The incident took place during a protest in Nairobi on Thursday, June 20, where demonstrators were voicing their opposition to the controversial Finance Bill 2024, which is due to be voted on by MPs on Tuesday after it sailed through its second reading by a vote of 204-115.

Kiratu's mother, Ann Wanjiru, who confirmed her son's death, said she was informed by a Good Samaritan late on the night of June 22, 2024, that her son had been injured, only to rush and discover that her son had already died.

 "He died after the canister exploded. I have identified my son's body. I want the government to explain to me if we elected them to kill our children.

I had hopes and dreams for him," said Ms Wanjiru.

After being injured, Kiratu was rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital by a bystander who found him wounded on the street.

"The hospital now says they need Sh2000 for fingerprints, and another Sh5000 postmortem by Monday morning. I am so heartbroken, I want justice for my son," Ms Wanjiru pleaded.

Chris Munene, who witnessed the unfortunate incident, recounted the frantic efforts to get Kiratu to the hospital. They took him to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) where they encountered a long queue of patients waiting to be attended to. 

"We took him to KNH where we found a long queue of patients waiting to be attended to. We tried our best to call the doctors to come to our aid because he was in pain, the last thing he said was 'Please call my mum," he said.

Ms Rachael Waithanje, Kiratu's aunt said that the police had left Kiratu incapacitated, bleeding on the road, unable to walk".

Mr Fredrick Odhiambo, a rapid response officer with Haki Africa said: "We are making demands against these illegal actions by the police. We demand justice, we are patriots, not criminals," said Odhiambo.