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Independent AfricaPresident Ruto calls protests in Kenya “treasonous”

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President Ruto calls protests in Kenya “treasonous”

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President William Ruto has announced a stringent crackdown on those protesting against the Finance Bill, labeling the demonstrations in Kenya as “treasonous.”

In a press briefing held at State House, Nairobi, the president condemned the actions of the protesters, particularly the breach of Parliament, and vowed to take decisive action against the organizers and financiers of the unrest.

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President Ruto accused “dangerous people” of hijacking the discussion around the Finance Bill and causing significant disruption and damage.

“It is unfortunate that this conversation has been hijacked by dangerous people who have caused us the kind of loss witnessed today,” he stated, referring to the storming of Parliament as a “desecration of Kenya’s emblems and institutions.”

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The president’s strong remarks came shortly after Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale announced the deployment of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to assist the National Police Service in managing the protests. Duale described the situation as a “security emergency,” underscoring the severity of the government’s response.

President Ruto emphasized that the protests were an affront to constitutionalism and the rule of law, branding the protesters as criminals.

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“The government will therefore uphold its constitutional mandate to secure our nation and its development and shall treat every threat to national security and the integrity of our state as an existential danger to our republic,” he said.

He assured Kenyans of a robust and swift response to what he called “treasonous actions.”

While commending the police for their conduct during the protests, Ruto ignored allegations of police brutality against initially peaceful demonstrators, as well as reports of indiscriminate shooting outside Parliament.

He also did not address the reported abductions of pro-demonstration Kenyans, which have drawn criticism from human rights organizations.

Concerns of possible state reprisals grew throughout the evening, with reports of KDF officers being deployed to the Nairobi Central Business District.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta, addressing the nation with a “heavy heart,” called for calm and restraint from the leadership and urged his successor to listen to the people.

“Listening to the people is not a choice but a mandate enshrined in the principles of our constitution and in the very basis and philosophy of democracy. Leaders must know that the power and authority they have is donated to them by the people,” Kenyatta said, appealing for understanding and dialogue.

Amid the turmoil, there were fears of media and internet shutdowns. Many Kenyans reported significantly reduced internet speeds, which network providers attributed to damage to two underwater fibre optic cables.

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