Islamabad [Pakistan]: The Aurat March, a rally conducted every year by women across Pakistan on International Women’s Day to voice their grievances and celebrate womanhood turned violent on Wednesday amid clash between the marchers and the police, reported Geo News.
A violent fight broke out outside the Press Club today as women and transgender people from various fields gathered for the Aurat March rally, where the police beat attendees with batons and allegedly tried to “stop” the rally. A verbal spat between the participants of the rally and the police occurred after they questioned the large number of transgender people trying to join the rally, the police said, adding that large groups of women were joining the march, reported Geo News.
Women at the march alleged that the police had “tried hard to stop the rally”.
During the rally, participants chanted slogans for women’s rights and were joined by transgender people, whom the police stopped to question.
Soon there was serious disorder outside the Islamabad Press Club, and the marchers began to raise slogans against the government and the media, reported Geo News.
Several reporters present at the event voiced concerns over the fact that despite covering the incident peacefully all morning, they had come under the wraps of the fight. A woman reporter and a cameraman from a local news channel also sustained injuries.
Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman also participated in the rally and strongly condemned the violence that broke out, reported Geo News.
Taking to her Twitter handle, Rehman said, “Friends from Aurat Azadi March are rightly upset. The Islamabad police had NO business laathi charging a small peaceful procession. It is the women holding laathis that need to be pushed back, not progressive women. Sad to see this happening. Will seek an inquiry.”
In another tweet, she said, “I strongly condemn this violence and have sought an inquiry on the incident. There is no excuse for this. That too on Int’l Women’s Day. This is not what we fought for and will not tolerate it. Has been brought to the Interior Minister’s notice.”
Following the spate that broke out, a number of people and organisations have spoken up against the administrations and condemned the brutality, reported Geo News.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) tweeted, “HRCP deplores the use of force by the Islamabad police against citizens at the Aurat Azadi March. We are also concerned by reports that religious organizations have tried to hinder women from taking part in the march. Women have as much right to peaceful assembly as any citizen.”
Aurat March was also organised in Ghotki, where the marchers shouted slogan, “as long as women are getting killed, we will continue fighting.”