On the morning of 26 June 2024, President William Ruto announced a withdrawal of the 2024 Finance Bill that sparked widespread protests in Kenya on 25 June. During the evening hours of 25 June, security forces removed all protesters from the grounds of the building housing Kenya’s Parliament, located in central Nairobi, after several hours of clashes involving the use of tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Defense Ministry officials deployed military personnel to Nairobi and other cities and towns affected by the unrest to assist local police forces in re-establishing order. Protesters erected roadblocks on several streets in central Nairobi, as well as on multiple highways connecting the capital city to rest of the country. At least 30 protesters have been killed in the violence in and around the Parliament building and 300 others have been injured, including 31 people who suffered gunshot wounds. Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (HKJK/NBO) remains open and operational, although flight delays have been reported. Due to additional security measures in place, Kenya Airways officials advise passengers to arrive at the airport at least four hours in advance of their scheduled flight time to ensure they arrive at their gates in a timely manner.

Earlier on 25 June, protesters set fire to the entrance of the Nairobi City Council building after torching vehicles outside the entrance of the Kenyan Supreme Court building. Demonstrators also set fire to the National Government Constituencies Development Fund and the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party headquarters buildings in Embu, Eastern region. Additionally, a fire broke out at Uganda House, a six-story commercial building situated on Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi’s central business district; however, it remains unclear whether the fire was connected to the protests.

In a related development, major internet disruptions were occurring across Kenya — as well as in neighboring Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda — as the Kenyan telecommunications company Safaricom PLC announced redundancy measures to mitigate service disruptions caused by damage to underwater internet cables. Investigations later determined that Internet connectivity disruptions were not related to the protester violence. Fully uninterrupted Internet services were restored in Kenya by the twilight hours of 25 June.

Analyst comment: Protest-related violence and acts of vandalism targeting government buildings or businesses associated with both local and national politicians have in large part decreased following President William Ruto’s announcement of the withdrawal from the 2024 Finance Bill in favor of further fiscal policy dialogue. Nonetheless, given the deployment of Kenyan military personnel to support local police forces, security checkpoints in and around government buildings and transportation hubs will likely persist throughout the country over the next 48 hours. Although a tense calm has followed President Ruto’s announcement, further protester actions and violence cannot be fully ruled out.