A group of twelve women candidates who launched a three-month sit-in camp to protest what they called fraud and corruption in last year’s parliamentary elections, said police “blackmailed” them to make public their photos after they confiscated their cells phones following a brawl on Wednesday evening.
The sit-in camp of the protesting candidates was removed by police on Wednesday, July 3, and the candidates claim that they were “beaten up” and “mistreated” by police that evening.
The candidates, who gathered in an area close to their previous sit-in camp, said on Friday that they have been “blackmailed” to give up from their protests otherwise their personal photos will be made public from their cell phones which are now with the police.
TOLOnews reporter Massoud Ansar says they were not allowed to film the area in Zanbaq Circle from where the sit-in camp was removed. He said they tried to film the area but was faced resistance by police.
“They [police] dragged women from their hairs. Why? More than 200 to 400 police were deployed for women. Policemen,” said Dewa Niazi, a protesting candidate. “The women visited the police headquarters and asked them to give back their phones because there were their personal photos on them. But the police district 10 headquarters blackmailed that they will make public our photos on social media if we tried to resume our protest.”
“They attacked the tent and beaten up women,” said Enayatullah Sahraee, a protesting candidate.
The candidates, which established a sit-in camp near the President’s Office, said they have documents and evidence available which show “widespread fraud” in the elections.
According to them, the government did not address their complaints despite repeated promises.
Kabul police rejected the claims.
“The road was closed for security measures,” said Ferdaws Faramarz, a spokesman for Kabul police.
“The area which they [the protesting women] selected [for their sit-in camp] was a vulnerable area, therefore, police treated them legally from the beginning,” the Interior Ministry’s spokesman Nusrat Rahimi said.
Lawyers said that any mistreatment by security forces against the people is a violation of the law.
“People have the right to protest for achieving their rights anywhere. Police and investigative institutions should cooperate them in this regard,” said Arash Shahirpur, a lawyer.
The parliamentary elections were held on October 28 last year and was marred by allegations of widespread fraud and corruption for which the leadership of the Independent Election Commission was reshuffled in order to ensure transparent presidential elections – which are scheduled for September 28.