Women protesters in Kabul

Women take to the streets in Kabul ahead of 8 March

A group of women protesters took to the streets in Shahr-e-Naw neighborhood of Kabul on Tuesday, demanding freedom and justice for women. “The Sharia is a pretext to erase women!” They chanted.

The group said they had come together under the “Purple Saturdays Movement” and called for the rights of women to be respected as equal members of society.

In recent months, the Taliban has suppressed women’s protests across the country, forcing them to hold rallies indoors. The protest by the Purple Saturdays Movement is a rare outdoor rally held in Kabul, ahead of the International Women’s Day on 8 March.

In resolution statement at the end of their rally, the protesters called on people around the world to pressure their governments to stop any support for the Taliban and impose sanctions against the group until it respects the rights of women.

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On Monday, the UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, said that the Taliban was “normalizing” discrimination against women.

In March 2022, the group barred girls from secondary education, and in December of the same year, it banned women from tertiary education. Additionally, the Taliban requested that NGOs not allow female employees to work until further notice.

These bans on women were followed by worldwide condemnations and repeated calls to be reversed but the Taliban responded with imposing more restrictions on women.