Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Kabul on Wednesday to demand justice after the brutal killings of seven members of a Shiite minority group. The protesters blame the deaths on Islamist militants. The crowd followed followed the coffins as they were carried toward the presidential palace in the center of the city.
NPR’s Phillip Reeves reports for the Newscast unit:
“Officials say the victims include two women and a child. They’d been kidnapped months ago. Their bodies were found Saturday, dumped in southeastern Afghanistan, after being partially decapitated. The dead were members were Hazaras, an ethnic minority of Shiite Muslims who are regularly the target of sectarian attacks.
“Demonstrators told reporters that Hazaras are often attacked in areas of the country under Taliban control — and accused the government of failing to prevent this. Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani’s condemned the killings, and promised an investigation.”
The protest reached a boiling point when some marchers tried to climb over the presidential palace walls, the Associated Press reports. AP adds that the Afghan president’s spokesperson said that guards fired gunshots and 10 people were wounded.
Most of the protesters dispersed after the gunshots, “but about 1,000 were allowed into the palace compound. About 30 of them were to meet with Ghani and members of his National Security Council later Wednesday to press demands for justice and security, according to organizer Lilia Mohammadi,” the news service adds.