05/31/2007, 00.00
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Women in burqa march in support of suspended MP

Street demonstrations continue in Afghanistan in support of Malalai Joya, an MP who was suspended for criticising warlords and other ‘criminals’ in parliament. “Down with fundamentalism” could be read on some banners whilst some flyers warned that the incident was causing “anger throughout Afghanistan.”

Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Street demonstrations in favour of Malalai Joya, a member of Afghanistan’s parliament suspended for daring to criticise the country’s warlords, continued Wednesday.

About 300 people, including some women wearing burqas, marched through the Afghan capital yesterday shouting “Down with fundamentalists, down with criminals who are in parliament”. Another 200 Afghan women had similarly taken to the streets in Jalalabad in support of the lawmaker last Friday.

Ms Joya was suspended by the lower house of parliament on May 21 for the duration of the legislature, i.e. till 2010, after she dared to compare parliament to a stable on TV.

“A stable is better, for there you have a donkey that carries a load and a cow that provides milk,” she said, adding that “parliament is worse than a stable.”

Men and women, a handful of them hidden beneath blue burqas, praised her for the courage she displayed in defying fellow MPs who played a role in the 1992-96 civil war.

“She is the only person who is fighting against the warlords—these people who killed Afghan people during their war,” said one protestor, a bearded and elderly farmer from the southern province of Kandahar.

A statement distributed by march organisers said that parliament's “unjust action” had caused “nationwide anger.”

Joya, who was elected in her home province of Farah in the 2005 parliamentary elections, was “the rightful representative of her people and no person or organisation has the right to suspend her,” it said.

In reaction to her criticism some have threatened her with death; others have called for her to be raped.

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