Taliban strike journalists at Kabul women’s rights protest

"The situation is that the Taliban don't respect anything: not journalists - foreign and local - or women," she said

Taliban strike journalists at Kabul women’s rights protest

The Taliban struck several journalists to prevent media coverage of a women’s rights protest in Kabul on Thursday. 

A group of about 20 women marched from near the ministry of education to the ministry of finance in the Afghan capital.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS 

Wearing colourful headscarves they chanted slogans including: “Don’t politicise education”, as traffic drove by shortly before 10 am.

The women held placards saying: “We don’t have the rights to study and work”, and” “Joblessness, poverty, hunger”, as they walked with their arms in the air.

TALIBAN STRIKES 

The Taliban authorities allowed the women to walk freely for around an hour and a half, AFP journalists saw.

However, one foreign journalist was struck with the butt of a rifle by one Taliban fighter, who swore and kicked the photographer in the back as another punched him.

At least two more journalists were hit as they scattered, pursued by Taliban fighters swinging fists and launching kicks.

READ: Nigerian youths plan protest memorials a year after bloody crackdown

MARCH IN RISK 

Zahra Mohammadi, one of the protest organisers, told AFP the women were marching despite the risks they face.

“The situation is that the Taliban don’t respect anything: not journalists – foreign and local – or women,” she said. 

“The schools must reopen to girls. But the Taliban took this right from us.” 

NOT TO FEAR TALIBAN

High school girls have been blocked from returning to classes for more than a month, while many women have been banned from returning to work since the Taliban seized power in mid-August.

“My message to all girls and women is this: ‘Don’t be afraid of the Taliban, even if your family doesn’t allow you to leave your home. Don’t be afraid. Go out, make sacrifices, fight for your rights’,” Mohammadi said. 

“We have to make this sacrifice so that the next generation will be in peace.”

RETURN TO AFGHANISTAN

Children walked alongside the protest in downtown Kabul, although it was unclear if they were part of the organised group.   

Some Taliban fighters policing the march wore full camouflaged combat gear, including body armour, helmets and knee pads, while others were wearing traditional Afghan clothing.

Their weapons included US-made M16 assault rifles and AK-47s.

Unthinkable under the hardline Islamist group’s last rule in the 1990s, Afghans have staged street protests across the country since the Taliban returned to power, sometimes with several hundred people and many with women at forefront.

But a ban on unauthorised demonstrations has meant protests against Afghanistan’s new masters have dwindled.

© Agence France-Presse

Source : The South African More   

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US student dies after choking during hot dog eating contest

Madelyn Nicpon died at a hospital in Boston, the US, just a day after she fell unconscious the hot dog eating contest

US student dies after choking during hot dog eating contest

A 20-year-old university student has died, after choking during a hot dog eating contest.

According to the Journal News, Madelyn “Madie” Nicpon died at a hospital in Boston, the United States (US), just a day after she fell unconscious at an off-campus charity fundraiser.

Nicpon was a student at Tufts University and had recently graduated from a suburban New York high school. She studied Biopsychology and was a member of the women’s lacrosse team.

University pays tribute to student

Thousands of students and university staff held a vigil in Madelyn Nicpon’s honour earlier this week, Tufts University said in a statement.

“Last night, approximately 3,000 students, faculty and staff gathered at the Gantcher Center to remember Madie and to support each other in our grief, then processed by candlelight to Bello Field, where Madie had spent many hours with her teammates and friends. The number of community members who turned out to lend support to each other, to Madie’s friends, and to her family was a testament to how many lives Madie touched during her time at Tufts”

The university has pledged its support for the Nicpon family and said it would share details on her funeral. The institution has also encouraged students in need of emotional support, in the wake of her death, to come forward.

“We are never prepared for the loss of someone in our community. It can be especially hard to accept the loss of someone so young. In times like these, it is more important than ever to rely on each other and draw strength from our community,” it said.

“Please know that the full resources of Tufts University support services are available to you. Students can access assistance through the University Chaplaincy, Counseling and Mental Health Service(CMHS), and Dean of Student Affairs Office”

Source : The South African More   

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