Kenya tea company suspends operations after protesters burn machines

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A multinational tea company based in Kenya has suspended operations after tea plucking and harvesting machines were burned by protesters, citing massive job losses due to mechanization. The suspension of operations at the Ekaterra tea company’s South Rift region farms will affect thousands of employees. The Kenya Tea Growers Association said Tuesday that all large-scale tea producers will scale down operations in solidarity with Ekaterra until security is guaranteed. Protesters on Monday burned five machines and looted tea products from one of Ekaterra’s shops. The growers association says there have been other attacks in tea farms in the South Rift region.