A rally in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, has turned deadly after security forces fired into the air to disperse protesters calling for the government’s resignation in the wake of a massive bombing earlier this week.
Hundreds of demonstrators rallied on Friday near the site of Wednesday’s blast, which killed more than 90 people and wounded 460, accusing President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive, of failing to protect them.
Wednesday’s bomb attack, at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was one of the worst in the Afghan capital since the U.S.-led campaign to topple the Taliban in 2001.
More than 1,000 demonstrators, many carrying pictures of bomb victims, rallied in the morning near the site of the blast, which killed more than 80 people and wounded 460. They held Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah responsible.
“The international community has to put pressure on them and force them to resign,” said Niloofar Nilgoon, one of a relatively large number of women taking part in the protest.
“They’re not capable of leading the country.”
Protesters also carried banners bearing slogans like: “Ghani! Abdullah! Resign!” and pictures of Ghani and other leaders with their faces crossed out.
Riot police used water cannon and tear gas to block protesters from reaching the road leading to the presidential palace. There were regular bursts of gunfire as they shot over the heads of the crowd, many of whom threw stones at security forces.
At least four people were killed and another 15 wounded, said the city’s Italian-run Emergency Hospital located near the protest site, said. The bodies of some of the dead, wrapped in white shrouds, were carried by protesters.
A statement from Ghani’s office repeated its condemnation of Wednesday’s attack and urged demonstrators not to allow “opportunists to disrupt their civic movement and use this opportunity to sow chaos for their own benefit”.