Civil society and cultural activists on Thursday carried out a demonstration over the continued delay in implementing the population census law and of not yet distributing the new electronic National Identity Cards.
Protestors started their demonstration near Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah’s house in Kart-e-Parwan, Kabul, and had planned to march towards the Presidential Palace. However, security forces stopped them when they got to Dahan-e-Bagh square.
This move angered the protestors who proceeded to burn effigies of President Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah and National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar.
The protestors said that by not implementing the population census law, the Presidential Palace was promoting the culture of law breaking.
Kahkashan Kofi, a cultural activist, said that it has been three years since parliament approved the population census law, but the president has not given the go ahead for the roll out of the e-NIC process.
“Elements inside the government, with ethnic views and for their illegal interests, are trying to hijack the law,” said Asar Hakimi, another cultural activist.
The protestors, angry at having been stopped from marching to the Presidential Palace, said that the protest was a civil move, but security forces’ action shows despotism by government.
“This despotism will not stop us and we will move forward. Our move is legal and we support the law. We don’t have any fear because we have the law on our side,” said Ahmad Zaki, a civil society activist.
Ainuddin Bek, another activist, said that the Presidential Palace should be a supporter of the law, not a violator.
“Hindering the law that has been approved by lawmakers and signed by the president is like playing with fire,” he added.
The demonstrators said that their protests will continue, adding that the public’s patience has worn out.