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Three countries where protests started due to a hike in fuel prices

Will the recent hike in fuel prices result in a protest in Kenya?

Kenyans unhappy over fuel price hikes

Kenyans this week woke up to news that the government had increased the cost of fuel to the highest in a decade after authorities decided not to tap a fund meant to keep prices stable and as the local currency weakened.

The price jumped 6% to 134.72 shillings per liter in Nairobi, the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority announced in a statement on Tuesday. The new rates which were effected on September, 15 will last for a month.

During the entire course of the week, there have been discussions on whether Kenyans should take to the streets to make their grievances heard. So, which countries have successfully made an impact through protests?

Nigeria

In January, 16 2012, former Nigerian president Goodluck Johnathan subsidised fuel prices to immediately reduce the price to about sh.45 a litre after a crippling nationwide strike over the removal of the oil subsidy.

The strike began on January 9, paralysing the country of more than 200 million people. Jonathan's government abandoned subsidies that kept prices low on January 1, causing prices to spike from sh.45 a litre to at least sh.100 a litre.

Anger over losing one of the few benefits average Nigerians see from living in an oil-rich state led to demonstrations across the country and violence that has killed at least 10 people.

France

In 2018, a rise in fuel tax which led to weeks of violent protests led to postponement of the tax for six months.

The protests which were led by a group known as "gilets jaunes" (yellow vest) hit major cities, causing damage and disruption for about three weeks consecutively.

The protests mostly center on gas prices, particularly diesel. French motorists mostly own diesel-powered vehicles, and diesel prices have risen sharply.

The blame laid on government policies that took effect at the beginning of 2018 and imposed an additional 7.6 cents in taxes for each liter of diesel purchased.

Ecuador

In 2019, former Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and leaders of the country's indigenous peoples reached a deal to cancel a disputed austerity package. The move followed nearly two weeks of violent and widespread protests.

The unrest began after Moreno ended government subsidies that had helped keep fuel prices low in Ecuador for some 40 years.

The move was part of a broader austerity plan related to over sh.420 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to prop up Ecuador's government and economy.

The IMF recommended a careful and slow change in fuel subsidies which, along with tax reform and other measures, would generate savings that would "allow for an increase in social assistance spending over the course of the program."

But after Moreno said he was ending the subsidies, the price of diesel fuel more than doubled. Fuel prices rose as well. Riots broke out, a state of emergency was declared, and thousands of people were arrested or injured.

At one point, the chaos drove Moreno and his government to depart the capital city, Quito.

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