Middle East News

Afghan police open fire on people attempting to march on Kabul’s presidential palace

At least one person was killed in Kabul after police moved in to clear people attempting to march on the presidential palace

At least one person was killed in Kabul after police moved in to clear people attempting to march on the presidential palace on Friday, June 2.

Video posted by TOLOnews appeared to show police using water cannon in an attempt to disperse the protesters. Multiple reports said security forces fired live ammunition at the crowd, killing at least one person.

One person reported killed was Haji Salem Esadyar, the son of the deputy of parliament’s upper house, the Meshrano Jirga (the House of Elders). At least eight other people were injured, according to TOLOnews.

Reports from Kabul Emergency Hospital said at seven people were killed in the demonstration, while the health ministry said four people died.

Ongoing deadly attacks

The protest was sparked by the May 31 bombing in the capital’s diplomatic district that killed at least 90 people and wounded hundreds more. Wednesday’s attack was one of the deadliest in Kabul since the 2001 US invasion.

Hundreds of people gathered near Zanbaq Square, the site of the bombing, before attempting to march to the palace.

According to some witnesses, the protest turned violent before the shooting happened. Kabul police chief Gen. Hassan Shah Frogh said people in the crowd had fired on police, injuring four officers.

Protesters reportedly threw rocks at police and fire trucks. TOLOnews reported that police detained at least six people who were chanting slogans against President Ashraf Ghani.

The demonstration is the latest protest against what some people believe is the failure of Ghani’s government to secure the country from the Taliban and the local Islamic State affiliate.

According to a  Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report from March, the Afghan government controls only about 52 percent of the country compared to 72 percent in November 2015, and has lost control of 15 percent since November 2016.

Members of the Hazara community protested in Kabul and several other cities in November 2015 after militants murdered and beheaded seven people, including children in Zabul.

On April 21, armed militants believed to be with the Taliban attacked an Afghan National Army base near Mazar-i Sharif, killing dozens of soldiers and civilians. Less than a month ago, eight people were killed and 28 others injured when a NATO convoy hit an improvised explosive device on a busy road near Kabul.

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