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Kenya: 'Dark Valentine' in Nairobi as hundreds protest rise in femicides

Women hold candles and flowers during a "Dark Valentine" vigil to demonstrate against the rising cases of femicide, in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.   -  
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Brian Inganga/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


Hundreds of people dressed in black to gather in a vigil dubbed "Dark Valentine" in Kenya's capital on Wednesday, to protest the rise in femicides in the country.

Cases of femicide in Kenya are on the rise, with more than 16 cases reported by police and local media since the start of the year.

"We do not condone femicide at all. We are losing so many women, so many girls. So today most of us have set out our plans so that we come here with fellow women, fellow ladies, fellow feminist leaders to ensure that we end femicide," said Merlin Kawira, a student and founder of an on-campus mental health support group call Africa Arts and Mental Talks.

On a day traditional for celebrating love, students instead gathered to commemorate the victims of femicide by lighting candles, chanting names of those killed, and holding red roses.

Debora Momanyi, student and human rights activist said: "love is not something that should put you at risk for death. So if we can’t have a healthy kind of love, what’s there to celebrate about?"

The Valentine's Day protest came after thousands of people marched in cities and towns in Kenya at the end of January in similar protests, which were recorded as the largest anti-femicide demonstration ever held in the country.

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