NAIROBI (Reuters) – Police deployed heavily in Kenya’s capital Nairobi on Wednesday ahead of expected countrywide protests called for by the main opposition leader against a raft of tax hikes.

At least two people were killed last Friday during a first round of demonstrations against the taxes, which are contained in a finance bill signed into law by President William Ruto last month.

Kenya’s High Court ordered that implementation of the legislation be suspended pending a legal challenge, but the government has raised petrol prices anyway.

The protests were called for by opposition leader Raila Odinga, who lost out to Ruto in last year’s presidential election.

A Reuters reporter in Nairobi saw police trucks with water cannons near the city’s Central Business District, where the streets were unusually quiet. Kenya’s police chief said on Tuesday that no protests would be allowed since organisers had not informed the authorities of their intention to demonstrate.

Odinga led a series of protests earlier this year against the high cost of living and alleged election irregularities.

Those repeatedly degenerated into clashes between police and protesters and led civic leaders to warn against a return to the ethnically-charged violence that has plagued Kenya in the past.

Ruto’s government says the tax hikes, which include a doubling of the fuel tax and introduction of a levy to fund affordable housing, will raise an extra 200 billion Kenyan shillings ($1.42 billion) a year and are needed to deal with growing debt repayments and to fund job-creation initiatives.

The opposition says they will deepen the suffering of Kenyans at a time when many are already struggling with high prices of basic commodities such as maize flour. ($1 = 141.2000 Kenyan shillings)

(Reporting by Thomas Mukoya and Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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