Taliban break off women’s demonstration in Kabul as protesters call for girls to go to school

Taliban fighters fired rifles and tore at banners as they staged a rare rally in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul on Saturday (August 13).

The women’s demonstration gathered just days before the one-year anniversary of the takeover by the hardline Islamists, and saw about 40 women march in front of the Ministry of Education building.

Women paraded banners and banners, some reading “August 15 is a black day” before being dispersed by Taliban fighters who fired their rifles into the air.

Women paraded with banners, some didn’t wear the face veils they were told to wear, and heels

The women's demonstration gathered just days before the one-year anniversary of the takeover of the hardline Islamists

The women’s demonstration gathered just days before the one-year anniversary of the takeover of the hardline Islamists

Women chanted 'Cultivated, work and freedom' and shouted, 'Justice, justice.  We are tired of ignorance'

Women chanted ‘Cultivated, work and freedom’ and shouted, ‘Justice, justice. We are tired of ignorance’

The protesters marched down the street in front of the Ministry of Education building to express their anger at the restrictions placed on women in particular

The protesters marched down the street in front of the Ministry of Education building to express their anger at the restrictions placed on women in particular

Taliban fighters reportedly fired rifles into the air to disperse protesters

Taliban fighters reportedly fired rifles into the air to disperse protesters

Protesters filmed the demonstration from their own perspective on their phones

The images shared online show women carrying banners and screaming

Video footage showed some protesters marching through the streets

Some protesters refused to wear face veils and wore heels in an effort to resist reversing many of the gains made by women in the two decades of US intervention in the country before the Taliban took back control.

Women chanted ‘bread, work and liberty’ and shouted, ‘Justice, justice. We’re tired of ignorance.’

According to reports, some protesters took refuge in nearby shops but were chased and beaten by Taliban soldiers with their rifle butts.

Some footage shared on social media shows women fleeing amid gunshots in the background, while the woman filming the scene repeats, “I’m not scared.”

Another clip shows a group of women standing together and talking to the camera inside. According to tweets, people say: ‘We protested today, but the Taliban fired at us.

“We are put in a pharmacy and they won’t let us go.”

And in another, women can be seen marching down the street, singing and raising their fists and posters.

One of the organizers of the march said Taliban fighters tore their banners and confiscated phones as they dispersed the demonstration.

According to reports, some protesters took refuge in nearby shops but were chased and beaten by Taliban soldiers with their rifle butts

According to reports, some protesters took refuge in nearby shops but were chased and beaten by Taliban soldiers with their rifle butts

The women were dispersed by Taliban fighters, who they say tore their banners and their mobile phones

The women were dispersed by Taliban fighters, who they say tore their banners and their mobile phones

In the past year, many restrictions have been reintroduced, especially for women, to conform to the Taliban movement's view of Islam

In the past year, many restrictions have been reintroduced, especially for women, to conform to the Taliban movement’s view of Islam

Women filmed part of the demonstration on their phones

Videos have been uploaded online showing what happened in Afghanistan's capital

One video showed women fleeing as shots were fired into the sky

“Unfortunately, the Taliban came from intelligence and fired into the air,” Zholia Parsi said.

“They scattered the girls, tore our banners and confiscated many girls’ cell phones.”

According to reports, some journalists covering the protest were also beaten by the Taliban fighters.

In the past year, many restrictions have been reintroduced, especially for women, to conform to the Taliban movement’s view of Islam.

Tens of thousands of girls are banned from high schools and women are not allowed to return to many government jobs.

Women are also not allowed to travel alone on long journeys and are only allowed to visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separated from men.

Earlier this year, the Taliban’s Supreme Leader and Leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, ordered that women must cover themselves completely, including their faces, in public.

The United Nations and human rights organizations have repeatedly criticized the Taliban government for imposing the restrictions.

Tens of thousands of girls are banned from high schools and women are not allowed to return to many government jobs

Tens of thousands of girls are banned from high schools and women are not allowed to return to many government jobs

Women are also not allowed to travel alone on long journeys and are only allowed to visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separated from men

Women are also not allowed to travel alone on long journeys and are only allowed to visit public gardens and parks in the capital on days separated from men

Protesters were forced to flee and take refuge in nearby shops as Taliban fighters descended to break up the rally

Protesters were forced to flee and take refuge in nearby shops as Taliban fighters descended to break up the rally

The rally was held on Saturday (August 13) - just two days before the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover

The rally was held on Saturday (August 13) – just two days before the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover

Richard Bennett, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, told reporters that the policy showed a “pattern of absolute gender segregation and aims to make women invisible in society” during a visit to Kabul in May.

Initially, some Afghan women resisted the restrictions in the form of small protests. But the ringleaders were soon arrested and held incommunicado, while denying they had been detained.

The takeover of the country paved the way for an economic collapse and the freezing of Afghan and donor funds, triggering a humanitarian crisis.

In the months after the takeover, most art, culture and pastimes are also banned.

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