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Protesters Enter Kenyan Parliament Compound, Police Open Fire; The Shattering Impact of Gaza's Food Emergency; Top Israeli Court Orders Government to Draft Ultraorthodox Jews; WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange's Plea Deal with U.S.; Yoav Gallant, Israeli Defense Minister, Meeting with Top U.S. Officials in Washington; Looters Hit Nairobi Shops amid Protests. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 25, 2024 - 10:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): And we start with breaking news out of Nairobi, Kenya, where ongoing process of now inflamed further. Your

learning that lawmakers and Kenya's parliament, which is on fire, have been forced to escape through an underground channel after protesters got inside

the parliament building.

That is according to CNN affiliate NTV Kenya. And our CNN team on the scene reported seeing at least two bodies lying on the ground after police fired

live rounds at protesters earlier, they said.

While police also used tear gas in a live interview with Barack Obama's half-sister, who is an activist. She was speaking to Larry Madowo.

Have a listen.


AUMA OBAMA, KENYAN ACTIVIST: I'm here because look at what's happening, young Kenyans who are demonstrating for their rights, they're demonstrating

with flags and banners. I can't even see anymore.


OBAMA: We are being tear gassed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shall not be tear gassed. This is our nation. We know how to live and learn.


ANDERSON: Well, Larry's been on the streets all day. Shortly after that interview with Obama's half-sister, he filed this bigger picture assessment

to exactly what is going on on the ground.

Have a listen.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We see the protest is just on the periphery of Kenya's national assembly here. We have seen at least two

bodies on the ground. We saw police use the live rounds while the protesters breached defense of the national assembly.

And that's how some of them were able to get inside the Kenya's parliament. And as protesters were getting closer, overwhelming the police, some of

these security officers, some of the men inside Kenya's parliament, we saw them using live rounds. And after that, we saw at least two bodies lying

here on this street.

This is called Parliament Avenue, goes right in front of Kenya's parliament. And this is the bill the houses brought the national assembly

and the Senate. There's still a standoff here between the protesters on that roundabout over at the end of that road and the police trying to hold

them back there.

But part of the wall has been breached and protesters made it all the way from the cut into the cafeteria and inside the floor of the national

assembly and made of the maze, they were trying to get it through these through the fence. And they kind of broke it into two.

And they got out with the arm of the maze for the rest of it remains inside parliament. So the most dramatic scene I've seen covering protests here in

Kenya for a long, long time but also the two bodies we've seen, those are the ones we personally saw as CNN.

The protesters tell us they've seen other bodies in other parts of the city. They were largely peaceful protesters and they are angry that police

appear to be using live rounds to beat back and to disrupt peaceful protesters.


ANDERSON: Larry's, as I say, been in the thick of it, in Nairobi and joining us now.

Larry, can you hear me?

MADOWO: Yes, Becky, I can.

ANDERSON: Just after 5:00 and gray, it's just after 5:00 in the evening there now. I see you walking on what looks like a relatively empty street.

Just describe what is there behind you and exactly what is being going on.

MADOWO: All right, Becky, we're on city hallway. This is just a few hundred meters away from parliament. The police are managed to beat back

the protesters to go further away from parliament after they came all this way in the hundreds, probably several thousand protesters, overwhelming the


And so they pushed them back. They do so using tear gas, using these riot gear that they're wearing. But I want to show you what's over here on city

hallway, is also the office of the governor of Nairobi, which appears to have been torched in the confusion while they were trying to make their way

all the way to parliament.

It's still on fire, certain bits of it. And somebody scrawled inside, "Reject the finance bill," because that is the basis of all these protests,

anger over the proposed finance bill that brought in new taxes, that many people consider would be too expensive for them.

When Kenya is already facing a cost of living crisis. So what you see, there's this smoke coming from some of the windows of the office of the

governor of Nairobi, there's shattered windows all over. And I just want to take you inside so we have a better look of what it looks like in here.


This is an extraordinary scene. It's supposed to be one of the protected buildings here in the capital.

But today the protesters in their anger appeared to have gotten all the way through and made a statement inside. Usually you cannot get this far

because of a fence over there. That's not there today. And this is the spin inside (ph). You see smoke coming in here. Don't want to go any further.

We don't -- we're not sure about the safety of going in there. But I want to show you that on the wall.

"I was here. Reject finance bill."

That has been the rallying call for the protesters throughout these past few weeks. But the anger has all come to a head over the past few days as

we see these young people coming out on the streets and making their voices heard, telling the government of President Ruto that they cannot afford to

live here.

That appears to be too little too late. I'm not sure it's going to be sufficient to put out all the fires that are burning here, literally and

figuratively, because so many young people are angry.

And they've been saying, organizing on social media and telling the government of William Ruto that they will not be cowed, they will not be

threatened and that they have waited for too long. They have nothing to fear anymore.

And that's extraordinary. One of the rallying cries we've heard a lot this past few days is that, when we -- when we lose our fear, they can do

nothing to us anymore. So that's the scene farther away from parliament.

A standoff between the protesters and the Kenyan police getting them further inside the middle of the capital, Nairobi, here as the night wears

on; thereabouts, 1.5 hours away before the government said that all the protests have to end by 6:30 pm.

So we're about 1.5 hours before that happens, when they can no longer be here on the streets. And you can still hear a lot of tear gas being shot in

the air. That's been the sound of Nairobi throughout the last few hours.

It has made it seem almost like a war zone, which is a heavy-handed response to what has been largely peaceful protesters. And I know because

we've been here all morning, seeing people holding banners, holding flags, singing the national anthem of Kenya and just saying, "Reject the finance

bill. Life is too expensive for us.

"President William Ruto, please listen to us," and the police constantly tear gassing them, constantly using water cannon, Becky, and constantly,

violently breaking down what are generally young peaceful protesters in the streets of Nairobi.

ANDERSON: And social media has played a big part in this rallying of demonstrators and you and I talked about that at the back end of last week.

You've been reporting today that at least 12 prominent social media users have been, quote, "abducted" in the middle of the night.

That is reporting coming, as I understand it, from Amnesty International.

What more do we know at this point?

MADOWO: That's right.

Amnesty International told CNN this morning that at least 12 prominent social media users had been abducted in the middle of the night. And they

don't know their whereabouts.

Under Kenyan law, anybody who's arrested is supposed to be presented before a judge within 24 hours. And when they arrested a family, the next of kin

is supposed to be informed where they're being held and what the charges are. None of that has happened in this case.

So what we have here is police standing outward (ph). Kenya's supreme court actually, this is what the laws are decided, is right next to Kenya's


And even that appears to have been breached. You see a lot of stones and rocks on the floor outside the supreme court of Kenya. This is the anger

these young people feel.

They tell us, because while they're being peaceful and President Ruto himself, admitted that they had come out peacefully, they had come out

without reference to tribe (ph), to hear them, to hear the other voices heard.

But this response has been heavy-handed and these 12 people who are missing have still not been accounted for. The government has not told us what's

happening to them. CNN has reached out to the police and to the interior ministry. We have not heard back.

But this scene, not just on this one street but on the next street as well, there's standoff between police and protesters standing at a distance,

daring the police. And now breaking down everything in their path.

ANDERSON: You spoke earlier to Auma Obama, is the half-sister, of course, of the former president, Barack Obama, who was tear gassed as she was

speaking to you on the streets, just talking about the protests there against overtaxation. Larry, it's good to have you.

We'll be back with you, stay safe. The situation there as we speak on the streets of Nairobi around that parliament building. Thank you.

Well, a new report lays bare the extent of the hunger crisis in Gaza. These are the key findings. The entire population of the enclave is facing at

least crisis levels of food insecurity.


That's expected to last through September. Now that classification means high levels of malnutrition and people being forced into unsustainable

coping strategies, like selling assets that support their livelihoods, for just enough food to get by.

Over half of the households surveyed said they did not have any food to eat in the House. Around a fifth of the population will go a full day or night

without eating anything at all.

Well, the report concludes that are high risk of famine persists across the entire Strip as long as the war continues and humanitarian access is

restricted. There have been some minor improvements in northern Gaza since the last report was released in March, which warned of imminent famine.

CNN's Paula Hancocks shows us the impact this is having on the children of Gaza. And we must warn you, these images are distressing.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amal, meaning Hope, was born two months premature. She died after just four days, her family says,

a baby born into war in northern Gaza.

"It's a result of her early birth, the head of pediatrics says, "which is a result of malnutrition and starvation of her mother. This is the fourth

child that's died in this department this week."

Amal's father says they were displaced, with no shelter, food or water.

"A real starvation," he says. "My girl died because of this."

Hospitals across Gaza are full of malnutrition cases, doctors say, needing special care that simply does not exist.

Yunus (ph) is 9 years old. His mother takes off his T-shirt to show the painful evidence of malnutrition and extreme dehydration. She says he was

healthy until they were displaced multiple times from northern Gaza to Rafah, to a beach area, where, she says, they don't even have a tent.

"Food was no longer available," his mother says. "There were bad living conditions and polluted water. I'm losing my son in front of my eyes."

More than 50,000 children require treatment for acute malnutrition, according to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. Eight months

of war have decimated the health system, water sanitation and food distribution. Clean water has become a luxury many struggle to access.

The IDF says there is enough aid in Gaza but distribution is the problem.

JAMES ELDER, SPOKESPERSON, UNICEF: It's not just about getting it in and it's far too little coming in, that's why we have an unprecedented

nutrition crisis for the youngest children in Gaza.

It's not a safe place, an enabling way to deliver that aid.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Aid groups say lawlessness on the ground is making their job of delivering aid to those who need it increasingly dangerous.

Dr. Sharif Matar (ph) says he's seen around 120 children on this one day at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. He estimates up to 20 percent of them were

suffering from malnutrition.

Diarrhea, inflammation, infections are prevalent, he says, caused by lack of sanitation or clean water.

"This boy is 1.5," he says. "He weighs less than six kilograms. There's no subcutaneous fat. His body is effectively eating itself."

The United Nations has already warned 1 million Palestinians will be at risk of starvation and death by mid-July. That is just weeks away. As with

everything in this war, it is the young who bear the brunt.


ANDERSON: Well, that is the impact of what is this relentless war. Today, the airstrikes continue. At least five people were killed, including three

children, in a strike in Gaza City. Separately, another attack targeted the house belonging to the family of Ismail Haniyeh, who is the political

leader of Hamas.

His sister was among the 11 people killed there. Back in April an Israeli airstrike killed three of Haniyeh's sons and four of his grandchildren,

according to Hamas.

Well, inside Israel, the top court today ordered the government to draft ultraorthodox Jews into the military and to withdraw funding from any

religious schools that don't comply with draft notices. I want to get you to Paula Hancocks, joining us from Jerusalem.

And Paula, the issue of enlisting the orthodox community in Israel's military has been a controversial issue for years now, posing a very big

issue for Benjamin Netanyahu.


And what comes next?

HANCOCKS: Well, Becky, this does put more pressure on the Israeli prime minister.

Basically because he has two ultraorthodox parties within his ruling coalition and he does in some ways rely on those votes to stay in power. So

this is -- it was a unanimous decision by the supreme court.


Saying that Haredi or ultraorthodox should be enlisted into the army. Israel has a mandatory military service and the Haredi have been exempt

from that mandatory service basically since 1948, since the foundation of Israel itself.

And so the supreme court also said that the religious schools, where these, these men of the age that would need to go into military service study, if

they do not put their students forward and do not encourage them to comply, then they will lose their funding from the state.

So this has been an issue for many years here. We understand from lawmakers that there have been bills that have been attempted to go through

parliament. They are trying to create a bill which would -- which would comply with the supreme court's decision.

But it is very tricky. It would be a popular decision, though, for the majority of Israelis. We've seen from recent polls that the majority of

Israelis do support the Haredi Jews being part of the mandatory military service as well.

But of course, that part of the population will not take to this kindly. They will not support it. They believe that studying and religious study is

one of the fundamental ways to preserve Judaism. And they see it as an equivalent of protecting Israel the same way that the military does.

So this is something that will become a problem in the near future as lawmakers are really forced to put a bill through, that will -- that will

force the Haredis to become part of the enlisting and to not ignore draft notices.

ANDERSON: Paula Hancocks is in Jerusalem.

Paula, thank you.

I'm going to get you to a very quick break but I want to get you back to what is unfolding on the streets of Nairobi, very close to the parliament

building there after this. Stay with us.




ANDERSON: The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is en route from a London prison to the north Mariana Islands in the Pacific.

Well, here he is during a refueling stop in Bangkok. He'll appear in court there when he arrives after reaching a plea deal with the U.S. that is

expected to free him on time served.

The U.S. has long said Assange exposed secrets that put lives in danger. CNN's Clare Sebastian takes a look at how we got here.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Julian Assange, this is the final sprint in a more than decade-long legal marathon, agreeing to

plead guilty to one U.S. felony charge in return for no more prison time.

STELLA ASSANGE, WIFE OF JULIAN ASSANGE: Throughout the years of Julian's imprisonment and persecution, an incredible movement has been formed.


A movement of people from all walks of life, from around the world, who support not just Julian and not just us and our family but what Julian

stands for: truth and justice.

JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: The case has dragged on for too long.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Assange is now expected to return home to his native Australia, where he began his career as a computer programmer and

hacker before founding WikiLeaks, where he first grabbed headlines in 2010 by releasing highly classified information.

First a U.S. military video showing an Apache helicopter mistakenly gunning down two journalists and several Iraqi civilians in 2007. Next was the

release of tens of thousands of classified military documents related to the war in Afghanistan revealing more previously unreported civilian


Documents on the Iraq War followed, suggesting widespread abuse and torture by Iraqi security forces. Then the leak of cables from U.S. embassies and

diplomatic missions around the world as far as claimed his mission was to shine a light on evidence of war crimes and abuses of power.

J. ASSANGE: And that's how people can really understand what is actually going on and whether they choose to support it or not.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): As the world watched for WikiLeaks, his next move in November 2010, Sweden opened an investigation into allegations of sexual

assault against Assange and issued an international arrest warrant for his extradition.

Assange denied the allegations claiming it was retribution for his political work and orchestrated to pave the way for his extradition to the

U.S. because of the leaks. He turned himself in to London police and was later released on strict bail conditions. Then, in an unexpected twist, he

entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 and was granted political asylum at the start of a seven year diplomatic route.

J. ASSANGE: Courageous Latin American nation took a stand for justice.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Still, Assange was able to reveal details that rocked the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): WikiLeaks published hacked emails from DNC staffers and Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign. Over time


relationship with his host soured. Ecuador revoked his asylum in 2019 and London police arrested him on an extradition warrant from the U.S. Justice

Department to face a conspiracy charge.

17 new counts under the Espionage Act followed accusing Assange of publishing information that risks the lives of confidential U.S. sources

and endanger national security. The Swedish charges were dropped later that year but Assange was sentenced to prison for violating his bail conditions

and spent five years fighting his extradition to the U.S. mostly isolated at Belmarsh high security prison.

Two years ago, he married his lawyer and mother of his two children, Stella Morris, inside jail. His plea deal with the U.S. on a remote Pacific island

a final twist in this tale, a recognition that he has paid his dues -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, let's bring in CNN's Nic Robertson, who's covering this from London.

This is a man who's been freed after 12 years. More than half of that, of course, as Clare pointed out, spent inside the Ecuadorian consulate; five


What can we expect to hear next of Julian Assange?

It feels like this is a man who has been in the news for as long as you and I have been around, doing journalism -- not quite that long but that's what

it feels like at times.

What's next for him, Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Even behind the curtains of the Ecuadorian embassy and the restrictions of having movement in the

tiny little offices there, he was able to be involved in or allegedly be involved in these huge leaks of information.

Which perhaps, some people would argue, altered the course of United States politics. I think at the moment everyone is keeping quiet. And certainly

that's what his wife, Stella, has indicated, that they don't really want to say too much.

And the Australian prime minister has indicated as well he doesn't want to say too much until after this deal is signed off on and Assange is back in


Look, this is a man who has been very outspoken about his own -- his own beliefs, his rationale for doing what he's done. He's had very little

access for many, many years now to plead his own case in a public forum.

So I think we can expect that. We don't know what the terms of the deal are. We don't know what expectations for the Australian government, who

really helped push for his release here, are going to be.

Are they going to tell him to keep shtum and not make more trouble?


Or is it, don't cause any or perpetrate any more leaks?

Or are there any restrictions whatsoever?

But I do think it would be right for us to expect Julian Assange to want to put his version of events across.

ANDERSON: Where does the U.S. administration stand on all of this, the back end, of course, of a Biden administration and maybe a second one?

We could have a Trump administration, of course, next.

ROBERTSON: They stand hands off, they say; specifically the White House, who say they've had no input that's affected the Department of Justice's

decision to come to this agreement.

Certainly you could look at it this way, that Australia has perhaps better and stronger diplomatic relations and even the little leverage, if that's

the right word to use, with the United States. The United States increasingly dependent on its allies in the Pacific because of its

increasing tensions with China and the future of Taiwan.

And Australia is offering larger naval facilities to the United States. It's tied up an important nuclear submarine deal in recent years. So the

ties between the United States and Australia are stronger. The dependency of the United States toward Australia is different from what it was a few

years ago.

And the prime minister, if he has called in favors on this to get something he wants, maybe that's part of it. But there's absolutely no indication

that the White House has had their hands on this in any public way. They are categorically denying it.

But this is a world of diplomacy. And these sorts of actions, as we've seen, happen behind closed doors and we don't know the details.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Nic. Thank you.

Nic Robertson on the story.

Well, let me get you back to our breaking news out of Nairobi, Kenya. Anti- tax protests at the Kenyan parliament building have turned violent. Parts of that building have been on fire. And police have fired live rounds.

We are learning that lawmakers escaped through an underground channel after protesters stormed that building earlier. And that's according to CNN

affiliate NTV Kenya.

Our CNN team on the scene reported seeing at least two bodies lying on the ground. I want to note that Kenya is having major internet connectivity

issues. The monitoring site NetBlocks reports a major disruption. So that is making it hard to get in touch with people, including our crew on the


But I do want to get some perspective. Stella Agara is a tax justice activist in Nairobi. She's also a governance and youth development

consultant. So she understands what is motivating those young protesters who are on the street.

Stella, can you hear me?

STELLA AGARA, NAIROBI TAX JUSTICE ACTIVIST: I can hear you, not very clearly. But I can hear you.

ANDERSON: Good. Stella, just describe what you are seeing on the streets over these past days, particularly today. We've seen a lot of violent

action on the streets, on the part of the police, it seems, and why it is, you believe, this young Kenyan population is demonstrating.

AGARA: I think we've had quite some days of negotiating the finance bill in Kenya. Normally, after the original budget (ph), the government is

required to provide the financing to demonstrate whether we'd get funding for the (INAUDIBLE) they have provided.

The government, in an attempt to get ready to (INAUDIBLE) to at least get these fans (ph) decided to impose or make proposals on people's taxes, on

some essential product, is beginning some of the basic products, like bread, et cetera, and cooking oil, which was some of the (INAUDIBLE) after

the fact.

But then we were also (INAUDIBLE) recommendations to impose taxes on them, on locally manufactured goods and imported goods (INAUDIBLE) they proceeded

to do to keep the (INAUDIBLE) on (INAUDIBLE) groups.

And (INAUDIBLE) transpired some of the (INAUDIBLE) looking at the (INAUDIBLE) one part of the (INAUDIBLE) of paying for these people to

(INAUDIBLE) who attended (INAUDIBLE).

Apart from that, there are certain taxes of an important critical, even like equipment, like laptops and iPhones, which affects the (INAUDIBLE)

young, who you have seen on the streets. And because they feel like they have --


ANDERSON: Yes. Stella --

AGARA: -- set up by the government, they're not getting jobs from the government.


And now they find themselves in a situation that they've created a niche for themselves (INAUDIBLE) employment. And the government is coming in to

tax those species (ph). Kenyans are very aware that some of these conditions --

ANDERSON: Let me just stop you for -- let me just stop you one -- for one moment, Stella. I want to get back to Larry. He's right in the thick of it

in Nairobi at present.

Things haven't calmed down. I just want to get a live report from him and I'll come back to you once we've spoken to him -- Larry.

MADOWO: Becky, we're on the street. This is one of the main streets here in Nairobi and we see police in a truck here, trying to fire tear gas at

the protesters who, in many cases, keep sending it back to them.

The streets is littered with a lot of debris, things that have come from the surrounding offices. And we're quickly getting enveloped by tear gas as

you see here. So we're going to need to move quickly.

The protesters have been beaten back to the side of that street. And this street is entirely empty. This is usually rush hour to be a busy time in

the city. We don't see any of that.

One of the things that (INAUDIBLE) happened in the last few hours is that some people have taken advantage of these protests against the high cost of

living to do looting. So we've seen some widespread looting in the shops around here. I want to show you some of them now.

People breaking into these buildings and taking whatever they can. We saw one man walking away with a TV set on his back. This is just one that's

completely vandalized here. But there's a lot of them, it appears to have been the mounting of a TV here.

On this street, all across it, a lot of these offices appear to have been looted, everything taken out. The glass shattered. This is the (INAUDIBLE)

bureau next to it here that has nothing left over. That's all completely vandalized there. That's part of the reason why the police are trying to

send them away because they are looting people's businesses.

And this is another one as well.

Sir, is this your business?

I just want to -- I'm sorry, sir, can you to come and talk to me?

Come we'll -- I'm with CNN. Come and talk to me, sir.

And this is just another shop next to him. All of this is new, too. This paper is strewn all over the ground. No valuables appear to have been left

here. And I think this is one business man who is just kind of sifting through what's left of his shop.

What is your name, sir?


MADOWO: What happened?

What happened to your shop?

Were you here when this happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was here but I was helpless. I called the police. Nobody responded. And there are people helping now.

MADOWO: You lost everything in the shop?


MADOWO: I'm sorry, Ishmael (ph).


MADOWO: So there's going to be a lot of people on this street counting their losses after this latest round of demonstrations, which were largely

peaceful but also there's been some widespread looting around here.

We saw a shell of a car burnt out back there. The police have managed to keep them away from parliament and push them all the way back there.

Down at the end of this street is the supreme court of Kenya. And that is a buffer between the protesters and the police. And they are still patrolling

this area, making sure that there are no protesters coming back here.

But that is what this has now degenerated into; what were protests about the cost of living, now looting -- Becky.

ANDERSON: There is a curfew which the police, I assume, will enforce around 6:30, which is about an hour from here, from now.

And you've been in the thick of this all day. And you and I were talking at the end of last week. So this has been going on now for some days.

How would you describe the atmosphere at half past, what, 5 now, on Tuesday afternoon?

Does it feel as if things are calming down?

Or do you expect that things could kick off again, during tonight?

MADOWO: Things are not calming down; if anything, things appear to be escalating as we're getting closer to that curfew. The government ordered

all the protesters to end their activities by 6:30 pm local time. So that's in just under an hour.

But that does not appear to be happening. If anything, these protesters appear to be taking advantage of this chaos pandemonium to loot. And so

police have been a lot more vigilant.

As it gets darker, I'm not sure how they'll be able to enforce that if they're all over the streets here and they are not being pushed away.

They're not going away, even as that curfew approaches.

ANDERSON: Larry, this finance bill was what is at the heart of these demonstrations.

Are parliamentarians listening?

Is the voice of those who are demonstrating being heard?

MADOWO: It's hard to tell.

There has been a mixed reaction on that. The opposition MPs have pulled up from this process, stopped recommending amendments and said they wanted

this to be completely rejected.


And some government MPs have also apologized. One famous lawmaker initially said these were fake demonstrations but now he has come out to apologize

and said he hears the voice of the young people.

This is the shell of the car I was telling you about, completely burnt out. And as we can see, that fire there, that is a part of city high -- city

hall. The office of the governor of Nairobi that's now on fire.

This is a fire that appears to be burning right now in one office building; I'm not sure what office specifically that is. But part of the other

windows of that are shattered. So this has escalated quite a bit. And as darkness falls, it's possible that it could get worse.

ANDERSON: Larry, I want to bring back a guest that we were speaking to earlier. Stella Agara is a tax justice activist in Nairobi.

And Stella, you were explaining exactly what went into that finance bill and why it was so contentious and controversial for so many youngsters, who

are now demonstrating on this -- on the streets. I wanted to get back to Larry and so thank you for standing by.

Do you expect to hear enough from parliamentarians that is going to quell this sense or this unrest that we are seeing or not?

Do you see this temporary in any way?

AGARA: Unfortunately, the ship has sailed for parliamentarians. When the protests were going on today, this bill was going through its second

reading. And the voting for it closed by close. They went through that process very fast.

And when it was done, the speaker moved to have the tag reading. And they ended up voting for the bill; 105 voted yes, 105 of them voted no. And I

think about three of them was pulled votes.

So basically this matter is completely out of their hand. It's not supposed to go into the president for instance. And the ball now is the president's

court. Unfortunately, all this time, he, the president, has not been listening. The members of parliament have not been listening.

It is only the opposition MPs and a few members of parliament (ph) from smaller parties and from the president's (ph) party who voted no.

And so the citizens watching are getting the feeling that maybe their words (ph) were landing on deaf ears. As a result, we have had protests lasted

the whole day and eventually they ended up being extremely ugly. We have had lives lost.

I think Larry has given you a good picture of what is happening on the ground. Unfortunately, this is only (INAUDIBLE) them some more. The

communication just before the protests was it was supposed to have seven days of reach.

This could go on for even longer and one of the people that the president does not realize in this conversation is that he has a bigger problem than

what he considers he's dealing with.

What am I saying this?

I'm saying this because, first, I have worked with young people for very many years. And Gen Z is a different, different kind of crop of young


Number two is the fact that there're very many underlying issues in this conversation. In (INAUDIBLE) the president actually does (INAUDIBLE)

unemployed youth. He kept promising them one thing after the other.

He granted them (INAUDIBLE) they came on board on his manifesto. When they came on board, they have high expectations while (INAUDIBLE) parties know

that you are not supposed to (INAUDIBLE) this group of people unless you're ready to give them what you promise.

The same way, you're not supposed to (INAUDIBLE) unless you have a way to (INAUDIBLE) the interest and to address their aspirations. Unfortunately

several years after, he has not delivered to them. Most of the promises he made here (INAUDIBLE) see. Some of the placards in the protests are

calling him a liar.

Unfortunately, in this conversation today, he's asking Kenyans, he is asking young people, he is asking the women of this country to tighten

their belts. And we are not seeing the same austerity measures being exercised in his government.

They're not tightening their belts themselves. They're busy and taxes (INAUDIBLE) to enjoy their livelihoods. For example, there are certain

taxes that we have resisted for (INAUDIBLE) the tax or rather than the payment for their wife of the prime cabinet secretary, which is the only

legal office. And they have insisted on having (INAUDIBLE).


AGARA: -- (INAUDIBLE) had. Unfortunately the horse has bolted and it will be a bit difficult to stop it. He had just one job, to listen to Kenyans.



ANDERSON: I very much appreciate your time.

And I know my communications with you aren't absolutely perfect. But thank you. I've got a real sense of your position. Your analysis and insight is

extremely valuable as we continue to stay on top of this story throughout the hour. Stella, thank you.

Also, still ahead, Israel's defense minister meeting top U.S. officials in Washington this week.


What Yoav Gallant hopes to accomplish and the pointed message that he is hearing from the U.S. secretary of state. More on that is after this.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, live from our Middle East broadcasting hub here in Abu Dhabi,

where the time is 6:42 in the evening,

Israel's defense minister is set to meet his American counterparts in Washington today.

Yoav Gallant is holding what his office describes as critical meetings with top U.S. officials. On Monday, U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken

emphasized the need for a post-war plan for Gaza and to avoid a further escalation intentions with Hezbollah along Israel's northern border with


CNN political and global affairs analyst Barak Ravid joins me now. He is also the politics and foreign policy reporter for Axios.

It's good to have you, Barak. You've been -- you've got new reporting. Let's start on the northern border.

You got new reporting on Israel's northern front, where President Biden's envoy, Amos Hochstein, has been telling Lebanese officials on his trip to

the region last week that Hezbollah is wrong to think that the U.S. would be able to stop Israel from invading Lebanon.

It feels like every day we're watching a preview of war but that everybody in some way is trying to avoid a war actually happening.

Is it imminent at this point, do you think?

BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICAL AND GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I'm not sure it's imminent. As you said, it's a strange situation, where both Israel and

Hezbollah say that they don't want a war, that they want a diplomatic solution.

The mediators, which is the U.S. and, in some way, also France, say the same thing but still for weeks, maybe months, the parties can't seem to get

it together.

And I think that the hope was that there will be ceasefire and a hostage deal in Gaza that will allow or that could be used as an offramp also with

the situation in Lebanon.


There's no such a deal at this time. So I think the parties are looking for exactly this, some sort of an offramp that will allow all the parties to

say, OK, let's calm down now.


Well, let's talk about the Israel and Hamas war in Gaza.

Where's the offramp on that at this point?

I mean, you've been -- you've been listening to those who are speaking in Washington, including Israel's national security adviser, saying today,

quote, "You cannot completely get Hamas to disappear as an idea."

There were similar remarks made by the IDF last week.

What's going on at this point?

Is there a change in strategy here?

RAVID: Well, I'm not even sure we can use the word strategy in this --


RAVID: -- in this context, because I think that may be the one thing the Israeli government lacks at this moment.

But if you look at where they're going next, I think what I hear from almost every Israeli official is that they say that, in two to three weeks,

the operation in Rafah going to end because they've more or less finished what they wanted to do there.

And then the IDF is going to move to what it calls phase three of the Gaza war, which is low intensity fighting, which means the IDF will stay on the

Philadelphi corridor on the border between Gaza and Egypt.

The IDF will stay at the -- what's called the Netzarim corridor, which basically divides Gaza to half, two parts, a northern part and southern

part, and prevents people from moving north and south.

IDF will stay in those two places. But other than that, all the forces are going to come out and they will only continue in very specific raids and

airstrikes against Hamas leaders or Hamas targets.

And you, you're not going to see the high intensity fighting we saw in the last almost nine months.

ANDERSON: That's, of course, the IDF's phase three, not to be confused with the phase three as laid out in the Biden/Israeli proposal on a

ceasefire and hostage negotiations, of course, which we've been discussing now, it seems, interminably.

That means that the IDF does retain presence on the ground if indeed that is what happens but it doesn't clear out completely.

At this point what happens to the hostages?

Is the next question and the IDF proposing that that their actions will allow for the beginning of the day after proposal or preparations or


Is that sufficient?

Is it sufficient move by the IDF, by leaving, by leaving troops on the ground, is that sufficient to trigger day after negotiations, do you

believe, at this point, and day after actions?

RAVID: So what they're going to try and do is to, first, in the north and Lebanon to tell Hezbollah, you see it's not a ceasefire but it's also not

what we had in the last nine months.

So let's say now that it's like a semi ceasefire and use that to start diplomatic negotiations on calming the border in the north.

Second thing they're going to try and do is, starting northern Gaza, to start doing what they call humanitarian bubbles, which means to find local

elements in Gaza to distribute the humanitarian aid under protection of the IDF.

So basically, the IDF goes in, stays on the outskirts of a specific neighborhood. And inside the neighborhood, the IDF does not go in and only

prevents Hamas from attacking that neighborhood and attacking the local elements that are sort of replacing Hamas rule.

It is a -- it's more -- it's easier said than done. It's very complicated to do that. Nobody knows if they will manage to do it. But Israeli

officials believe that, if they can start doing those small humanitarian bubbles, it will also put pressure on Hamas.

Because Hamas will see how, bit by bit, there's an alternative for its rule in Gaza.

ANDERSON: Can I just ask you very briefly, Yoav Gallant, I mean, what sort of atmosphere is he being welcomed to Washington in?

How would you describe the Biden administration's welcome for him?

RAVID: You know, Becky, Joe Biden says a lot in a domestic political context, don't compare me to the Almighty.


Compare me to the alternative.

And I think this is exactly what the Biden administration is doing when it's dealing with Yoav Gallant, the minister of defense. They see the

alternative and the alternative is Benjamin Netanyahu that is attacking them in public and accusing them of not supplying weapons to Israel.

And they have, on the other hand, Yoav Gallant, who's the head of the Israeli defense establishment, which is maybe the most basic part of the

U.S.-Israeli relationship. And he wants to deal with the U.S. in closed rooms, in quiet conversations, in intimate diplomacy, not with this

megaphone style approach that Netanyahu is taking.

So gallant, I think that a VIP treatment during his visit, he's almost -- everybody, I think, other than President Biden. So everybody and I think

the Biden administration sees them as a partner they can work with.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Barak. Thank you very much, indeed. Taking a short break, back after this.




ANDERSON: Well, this is Nairobi, as we speak, just before 6:00 in the evening.

Larry Madowo there.

And Larry, we're looking at a building on fire, the damage the result of what has been a day of demonstrations and clashes between protesters and



MADOWO: That's right, Becky, we're looking at a building in the middle of the city in Nairobi on fire. This is Uganda House. And we saw some people

having to jump through the windows as the fire began.

They believe this began after tear gas was thrown inside the building. Some of the protesters might have escaped in there. But this building now

engulfed in flames. This is a serious fire. There's still no fire brigade here. It's not clear if there's any people who are still left there.

But at the back of the building, some people were getting help to escape the fire just as we came in. This has been burning now for a few minutes.

There's no emergency response as yet. And the fire appears to be getting worse.

This is the latest in this escalation between protesters and police in the nationwide protests we've seen in Kenya over the finance bill. A lot of the

young people out in the streets, angry about overtaxation by the government of President William Ruto.

And now this scene here, Becky.

ANDERSON: Larry, we're going to need to take a very short break and we will continue to cover this on CNN.

I'm going to say good evening from Abu Dhabi. But stay with us. CNN continues. "NEWSROOM" is up next.