December 02
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Authorities in Afghanistan broke up a women's rally in the Afghan city of Herat in the west of the country on Sunday, with protesters claiming they were beaten by Taliban gunmen firing into the air, AFP reported.

Dozens of female students protested Friday's suicide bombing in a classroom in Kabul that killed and injured dozens of students studying for exams.

The terrorist blew himself up in the women's section of a gender-segregated classroom in an area of Kabul that is home to the historically oppressed Shiite Muslim Hazara community.

The United Nations reported that at least 35 people were killed and 82 others wounded, most of them girls and young women.

On Sunday, more than 100 women, mostly Hazara women, marched in Herat against the attack, one of the deadliest for the minority in recent years.

“Education is our right, genocide is a crime,” protesters chanted as they marched from Herat University to the provincial governor's office.

Dressed in black hijabs and headscarves, the protesters were stopped by heavily armed Taliban, who also ordered journalists not to report on the rally.

"We had no weapons but were only chanting slogans as we marched,” protester Wahida Saghri told AFP. "But they beat us with sticks and even fired in the air to disperse us. Please carry our voice across the world because we are not safe here."

Another group of female students, who were not allowed to protest on the street, held a separate rally on campus.

Since the Taliban's return to power, protests for women's rights have been accompanied by tense confrontations with the authorities, demonstrators have been detained, and rallies have been dispersed by aerial bombardment.

Women activists are still trying to organize sporadic protests, mostly in Kabul, against a range of restrictions imposed on them by the Taliban.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for Friday's attack at the capital's Kaaj Higher Education Center.

However, the jihadist group Islamic State considers Shiite heretics and has previously attacked girls, schools and mosques in the area.

In recent years, there have also been attacks on Hazaras in Herat.

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