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Hundreds of Kenyans Join International Protests to Demand Political Leaders Do More to Combat Climate Change

Hundreds of Kenyans joined international protests Friday to demand political leaders do more to combat climate change

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Kenyans, International, Protests
Kenyan protesters, predominantly young people, march demanding their government take immediate action against climate change, in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 20, 2019. (M. Yusuf/VOA) VOA

Hundreds of Kenyans joined international protests Friday to demand political leaders do more to combat climate change.

Dressed in red, black and white T-shirts bearing messages about global warming, protesters marched in the streets of Nairobi to express their fears and call for government actions they think are needed.

Twenty-two-year-old Benson Gitutu, one of the protesters, said the government and citizens must be reminded of what they are doing to the environment.

“Our climate is deteriorating day by day just because of the actions of our government and the actions of the people. And that’s why we are trying to make people aware of what they do is not good,” he said.

Kenyans, International, Protests
Kenyan protesters display trash to demonstrate how Kenyans pollute the environment, during a protest against climate change, in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 20, 2019. (M. Yusuf/VOA) VOA

Gitutu said he is concerned about a proposed coal plant in Lamu County.

“We [are] hoping to see a positive change, like the government itself will stop the coal plant that is being set in Lamu, of which we know, all of us, it is not good,” Gitutu said.

Kenyan officials insist the proposed $2 billion plant will help meet the country’s growing demand for electric power.

But in June a Kenyan court halted the construction of the plant, saying the bidding process, won by a Chinese company, was irregular and lacked public participation.

Also Read- Nearly 1,000 Young People March in Kampala to Protest Land, Forest and Wetland Degradation

Another protester, 20-year-old Mary Mukuhe, hopes her presence in the street will compel the government work to improve the environment.

“We will help the government know that, as youth, we are seeing changes in the environment and we want them to know that we want them to be part of the changes we want,” Mukuhe said.

In recent years, African countries have witnessed unsteady weather patterns that have harmed farm output.  Kenya in particular has grappled with repeated droughts.

Amnesty International was one of the organizers of the protest.  The director of Amnesty’s Kenya branch, Irungu Houghton, said the Kenyan government has to do more to protect the environment and its population.

Kenyans, International, Protests
Kenyan protesters join activists around the world calling on their political leaders to take action against climate change, in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 20, 2019. (M. Yusuf/VOA) VOA

“I think there are three things that we must do.  We have to conserve our water sources, we need to make sure we don’t waste public financing, and corruption around the two dams that had now to be stopped.  These are all consequences of bad governance. We also need to ensure that we conserve our forest. Water towers of this country about five or six water towers they are critical to the lives of 50 million people. We have to protect them.”

Also Read- Nancy Pelosi Unveils Ambitious Plan to Lower Drug Prices for Seniors on Medicare

Protesters believe they conveyed the message, and hope government institutions will come up with ways to protect the environment and keep Kenya a habitable place for everyone. (VOA)

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Protests Erupt in Lebanon Over Tax Proposal on Free WhatsApp Calls: Report

Many were also concerned that it was not only designed to boost tax revenue, but also a way to monitor communications and restrict freedom of speech and protests," the report mentioned

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Protests erupted in Lebanon over plans for the introduction of a tax on calls made over the Internet using the WhatsApp messenger and similar apps.

Lebanon’s cabinet decided to impose a fee on voice/video calls made on WhatsApp and other apps to raise revenues as demonstrators and police clashed on Thursday against the move, according to Arab News.

The government later backed down from the plan to levy 20 cent per day tax on WhatsApp calls as people vented their anger in the second nation-wide protests in less than a month.

Information Minister Jamal al-Jarrah on Thursday said the cabinet had agreed a charge of 20 cents per day for calls via voice over internet protocol (VoIP), used by applications that include FaceTime, Facebook, and WhatsApp.

“We are poor people. Why are they preying upon us? We had free WhatsApp calls — why do they want us to pay the internet bill twice?” One person was quoted as saying.

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FILE – The WhatsApp app logo is seen on a smartphone in this picture illustration. VOA

“The fee could potentially bring in up to $250 million in annual revenues from the country’s estimated 3.5 million VoIP users,” the report said.

The tax proposal met with anger, especially among young people and those from low-income groups.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg Admits Facebook Publishes ads Containing Lies

Protesters packed roads from Riad Al-Solh Square in central Beirut all the way to Martyrs Square, chanting “Revolution” and “The people want to take down the regime.”

“Many were also concerned that it was not only designed to boost tax revenue, but also a way to monitor communications and restrict freedom of speech and protests,” the report mentioned. (IANS)