On the occasion of the International Women's Day, a large crowd had gathered for the Aurat Aazadi March 2020 on Sunday in Islamabad, Pakistan.
However, Islamist fundamentalists pelted the campaigners with rocks, shoes and sticks. Even chilli powder was used to attack the gathering, said one of the campaigners Maria Malik. Malik also said that 5 of the campaigners got severely injured during the incident. Taking to Twitter, she wrote, "JUIF & Sunni-ittehad mullahs violently attacked us today at #AuratAzadiMarch2020 with rocks & chilli powder and 5 of our people got severely injured. What triggered them? Seeing women reclaiming public space. This is the true & ugly face of this society that we march against!"
The official Twitter handle of Aurat Aazadi March Islamabad also posted a video, saying that they got attacked by hardliners from JUI-F, Sunni Ittehad, and Jamia Hafsa. "You can clearly see our organizers showing these agitators the peace sign in response to their 'laanat' and curses, before they attacked us with rocks, leading to several injuries," they wrote.
AAMI further said, "These men decided to attack women and children who were protesting peacefully. This is the true face of right-wing fanaticism in Pakistan, which hijacks the religious narrative to silence the voices of our most marginalized communities. This is NOT Islam; it's barbarism."
"These agitators were there for the sole purpose of disrupting our march. Apart from pelting us with bricks and stones, they threw chilli powder in the eyes of children. This is why we march. Women can't even leave their houses without the threat of being attacked by such men," they added.
Police officer Mazhar Niazi said the officers blocked the people attacking the campaigners. He also said that a criminal case would be registered against them for violating the law and attempting to attack the Aurat Aazadi March 2020.
Sunday's rally in Islamabad was the biggest one in the capital city. "So proud of all the resilient women who marched yesterday despite the mullah attack! Red heart Also a big shout out to our male allies for all their support and solidarity," wrote Maria Malik.
The fundamentalists in Pakistan have criticized these rallies which are held across the country because of slogans like "My body, my choice", "My body is not your battleground" and "Stop being menstrual phobic", raised by women.