Kenyan students march to honour Garissa victims

Hundreds of demonstrators in Nairobi call for better security and compensation for families of 148 killed at university.

    Several ceremonies to mourn the victims have been held in Nairobi [AP]
    Several ceremonies to mourn the victims have been held in Nairobi [AP]

    Hundreds of Kenyan students have marched in downtown Nairobi to honour the 148 people who died in an attack by al-Shabab fighters at a college campus in Garissa and to press the government for better security in the wake of the killings.

    The crowd walked and jogged down main thoroughfares in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday, sometimes sitting in traffic circles and intersections.

    One demonstrator held a sign that read "You remain in our hearts!''. Another said "Comrades are tired of al-Shabab''.

    Al Jazeera's Malcolm Webb, reporting from Nairobi, said the demonstrators were angry with the government for failing to provide adequate security in Garissa.

    "People in Garissa had said they wanted more security because they were in an unstable part of the country where al-Shabab had launched several attacks in the last year or so," he said.

    After marching through the city, the students were holding a vigil at Nairobi University.

    On Twitter, Kenyans and other users have been using the hashtag ' #147notjustanumber ', to remember those who had died in the attack, referring to an earlier death toll.


    The hashtag had picked up more than 53,000 mentions as of Tuesday afternoon, according to social media analytics site, Topsy.

    The demonstrators denounced the Somali-based group that carried out the attack.

    "We might be next,'' Walter Mutai, a 22-year-old statistics student at Moi University, told the Associated Press. "These people, they can target anywhere.'' 

    On one road, the students passed troops with red berets and rifles sitting on the back of a truck.

    "Where were you?" the students shouted angrily. The soldiers did not respond.

    The protester are demanding state compensation for the families of the victims who died in the attack last week in Garissa, the construction of a memorial for the dead and better security on campuses and in the country as a whole.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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