Barack Obama's half-sister Auma Obama speaks out after getting teargassed in Kenya protests

The half-sister of former US President Barack Obama has been teargassed during anti-government protests in Kenya.

Auma Obama was teargassed by police during an interview with US broadcaster CNN live on air.

She told the station: “I can’t even see anymore, we’re being teargassed.”

A protester lobs a teargas canister at police during a nationwide strike (AFP via Getty Images)
A protester lobs a teargas canister at police during a nationwide strike (AFP via Getty Images)

It happened after police opened fire on demonstrators trying to storm Kenya's legislature on Tuesday, with at least five protesters killed, dozens wounded and sections of the parliament building set ablaze as lawmakers inside passed legislation to raise taxes.

Ms Obama was taken aside amidst the melee by a CNN reporter and asked why she was there.

"I'm here because - look at what's happening. Young Kenyans are demonstrating for their rights. They're demonstrating with flags and banners. I can't even see anymore," she said, beginning to cough and shield her eyes from the spreading smoke.

"We are being tear-gassed."

Protestors in Kenya (AFP via Getty Images)
Protestors in Kenya (AFP via Getty Images)

A man behind her carried a sign reading, "Colonialism never ended in Kenya," while another yelled, "This is our country. This is our nation."

Kenya is in the grip of nationwide protests against the proposed tax hikes, culminating in a planned “total shutdown” of the country.

The demonstrations, sparked by the bill, have seen citizens rally under the banner of “7 Days of Rage” as the nation faces more days of upheaval.

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has demanded an immediate end to violence against anti-finance bill protesters and has called for dialogue and international intervention.

The office of former President Obama said it had no immediate comment on the incident involving Auma Obama or the violence in Kenya.