Kenyan protestor daringly smokes teargas canister in viral video

The recent protests in Kenya have ignited a wave of social media buzz after a protester grabbed a teargas canister and proceeded to smoke the fumes in a daring and unconventional act of defiance.

The video of the protester inhaling the teargas and passing it on to a fellow demonstrator has circulated widely, symbolizing the extent of discontent and frustration among Kenyan citizens.

These protests stem from a controversial new finance bill that sparked nationwide outrage due to its introduction of unpopular tax proposals. The bill aimed to implement tax hikes, triggering widespread dissatisfaction and prompting young people to harness social media to organize street demonstrations expressing their opposition to the proposed measures.

Also Read: Praised in the US, loathed in Kenya: Ruto deploys army to quell protests

The protests quickly escalated into clashes between the police and demonstrators, resulting in a significant number of casualties and widespread chaos. Reports indicated that at least 22 people lost their lives in the protests on 26 June, with another 200 sustaining injuries.

Nairobi witnessed a particularly intense episode of the protests, as demonstrators breached the parliament building and set portions of it on fire. Amid the clashes, gunshots and tear gas permeated the streets, reflecting the profound anger and frustration over the proposed measures.

Initially, Kenyan President William Ruto attributed the violence to “criminals” whom he believed had “hijacked” the protests. He vowed to address the unruly elements, but as the violence continued and the death toll rose, he ultimately conceded to the protesters’ demands. In a public announcement, Ruto confirmed the withdrawal of the finance bill, acknowledging the voice of the people.

“I concede, and therefore, I will not sign the 2024 finance bill, and it shall subsequently be withdrawn. The people have spoken,” he announced.

The events in Kenya serve as a poignant reminder of the power of public dissent and the impact of unified civic action. The widespread use of social media to organize and mobilize the protests underscores the evolving dynamics of activism and public engagement in the digital age.

As the dust settles in the aftermath of the protests, it remains to be seen how the Kenyan government will navigate the aftermath and address the grievances that catalyzed the widespread unrest. The resilience and determination of the protesters have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the country’s socio-political landscape, signaling a potent force for change and accountability.

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