Afghanistan (Tasnim) – A protest on Friday that began at the site of a huge bombing in Kabul earlier this week and made its way to the gates of the Afghan presidential palace turned deadly, with security forces firing into the air to disperse angry crowds trying to get inside.
At least six people were killed and several others were wounded, according to protesters and witnesses at Emergency Hospital, one of Kabul’s main trauma centers.
The Kabul police chief, Gen. Hassan Shah Frogh, said some of the protesters were carrying weapons and had fired at the police, wounding four officers. “Police also fired, and only one or two protesters may be wounded,” he said.
General Frogh added that Salem Izidyar, the son of the deputy speaker of the senate, had been killed among the protesters, The New York Times reported.
Haroon Mutaref, one of the protest organizers, said the demonstrations would continue despite the clashes.
“We are still here, although police shot at people,” he said. “We are here, and we will not leave until we reach our goal of getting justice.”
With emotions running high after the clashes, there were fears that political strongmen might ride the wave of anger produced by the casualties.
“No one can stop people from protesting, and they used force. They rammed military vehicles into crowds setting up protest tents,” said Gul Haider, a former warlord from the northern part of the country and military commander who joined the protests after he heard news of the clashes.
“If we wanted to push our way in, we would have reached the palace.”
He said he had seen dozens of wounded at the hospital, and six dead bodies from the protest.
Hundreds of people from across the city chanted for the government to resign as they gathered in the city’s diplomatic quarter at the site of Wednesday’s explosion, which killed nearly 100 people and wounded more than 450, before trying to make their way toward the presidential palace.
“Death to the Taliban, death to Haqqani,” the protesters also chanted, referring to the wing of the Taliban that the Afghan intelligence agency has said was behind the bombing.
The road leading to the palace was blocked by security vehicles, and hundreds of security forces tried to control the crowd using water cannons and riot gear. When that failed, the security forces started firing live bullets into the air.
This report prepared by Tasnim News Agency