Roman Catholic nuns and priests, Muslim clerics, anti-globalisation activists and university students gathered at a park normally the venue for state functions near downtown Nairobi, carrying placards and banners.

Some read, "The Time Is Now, Ending Poverty Is Just," "There Is No Free Aid" and "Say No To Food Insecurity, Say No To Unfair Trade."

Njuki Githethwa, coordinator of the Kenya Debt Relief Network, said they were marching to show the common cause with anti-poverty protesters in Scotland and to demand the leaders of the G8 group of wealthy nations cancel the debts of African countries, including Kenya, as they prepare to meet on Wednesday for the G8 summit at the Gleneagles resort in Scotland.

More than 100,000 people plan to form a human bracelet around Scotland's medieval capital of Edinburgh on Saturday to kick off a week of anti-poverty activism.

Commitment call

Saturday is "a special day to call upon world leaders to make a stronger commitment to alleviate poverty," said Githethwa.

"(Cancelling Kenya's debt) will alleviate poverty to a major degree. It will also bring the country back to the course of development"

Njuki Githethwa, coordinator of the Kenya Debt Relief Network

He said that if Kenya's debts were cancelled, such action, "will alleviate poverty to a major degree. It will also bring the country back to the course of development."
 
Daniella Lenatiyama, a college student who joined the protesters because of the banners and placards she saw on Saturday, said the march was important. "This way we can work together to eradicate poverty," she said.

African countries also have to do their part to eradicate poverty by fighting corruption and creating more jobs as protesters demand more from the G8, said Yeline Wairimu, a university student.

"It is not just the G8 to act. We also have to take the initiative to eradicate poverty," Wairimu said.