United Nations chief António Guterres urges Kenyans protesting unfair tax policies in Finance Bill 2024 to do so peacefully and calls on leaders of Kenya and authorities to listen to them and show restraint, the UN Secretary-General said in a message on X (formerly Twitter) today.

“I urge the Kenyan authorities to exercise restraint and call for all demonstrations to take place peacefully,” he said.

Guterres was responding to a wave of demonstrations in the country, which escalated to hundreds of youths storming Parliament buildings in Nairobi and damaging property on Tuesday. Some of the largely peaceful protests have spiralled into civil unrest in many cities.

At least 15 people have been reported dead following the demos, five of them in front of the National Assembly when the police fired live bullets.

“I am deeply saddened by the reports of deaths and injuries – including of journalists and medical personnel – connected to protests and street demonstrations in Kenya,” the UN Chief stated.

In a full statement that Tuesday, the UN appealed for the government to investigate the deaths of all those who died during the protests and prosecute the guilty:

“We’re also very concerned about reported cases of targeted arbitrary detentions. It is very important that the rights of people to demonstrate peacefully be upheld.

“It is up also to authorities to ensure that those rights are respected and that all incidents of deaths in the hands of security forces be fully investigated,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Foreign missions in Kenya have also condemned the violence that has marked the ongoing Finance Bill demonstrations countrywide.