Obama’s Half-Sister Gets Tear-Gassed During Protest


The half-sister of former President Barack Obama was among hundreds of Kenyan street protestors met with tear gas and police batons after rioting in the wake of tax increases proposed by the country’s government.

NBC News reported on the involvement of Auma Obama, 64, a Kenyan activist who was captured on video wiping tears away and struggling to breathe moments after she claimed she was hit with tear gas while demonstrating in the capital city of Nairobi.

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“I can’t believe that these young people are just trying to demonstrate for their rights,” Obama said in an interview with CNN. She said she told the young demonstrators “that we understand that they need to use their voices and we are being tear-gassed. We’re being tear-gassed! We have flags and banners, nothing else.”

The unrest came hours after Kenya’s Parliament passed a sweeping tax hike on a range of goods and services that residents say will make it impossible to achieve a reasonable standard of living. Lawmakers fled through a tunnel to avoid the initial protestors, and the subsequent “7 Days of Rage” riots have so far cost the lives of five individuals who were shot by police. On Tuesday, President William Ruto called the protests a “grave threat” to Kenya’s security and vowed to rein them in “at whatever cost,” according to the New York Times.

President Obama’s family lineage to Kenya can be traced back to his father, Barack Obama Sr., who worked as a farmer herding goats in Kogelo, Kenya before attaining degrees in government economics at Harvard and the University of Hawaii, CNN previously reported. After President Obama’s parents divorced in Hawaii, Obama Sr. moved back to his native Kenya where his family still lives today.

Auma Obama did not meet her half-brother until they were in their mid-20s, the outlet added. In her memoir “And Then Life Happens,” she recalled receiving a letter from Barack after their father died and calling her to come visit him in Chicago. She told CNN that staying with her half-brother and future president at the time was “like having a Christmas that doesn’t finish.” She later moved to Berlin and spent 16 years in journalism and broadcasting.

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