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Nairobi gathers for 'Dark Valentine' as they protest for victims of femicide.

On the 14th February 2024, hundreds of people gathered the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, dressed in black, to perform a vigil which has been called 'Dark Valentine'. The reason for the protest is the increase in femicides in Kenya over time.

Femicide: the killing of a woman or girl, in particular by a man and on account of her gender.

With flowers in hand, hundreds of mourners gather at the Dark Valentine vigil on February 14, 2024 (Edwin Ndeke/Al Jazeera)

Femicide cases in Kenya are on the rise,"more than 16 cases reported by police and local media since the start of the year" (Africanews, 2024). A student who works with an on-campus mental health group called Africa Arts and Mental Talks, was asked about her attendance of the event:

"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,"

The crowd was mostly full of students, who on a day set for celebrating love, instead gathered to commemorate the victims of tragedy. They lit candles, and chanted the names of those who were killed. Almost everyone also held a red rose.

Human rights activist, Debora Momanyi added :

"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 followed an array of similar protests by thousands across other cities and towns in the country, since the end of January - these were recorded as the largest anti-femicide demonstration in Kenya.

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