Crowd Attacks Afghan Women Protesting New Marriage Laws

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 15, 2009 9:40 AM CDT
Crowd Attacks Afghan Women Protesting New Marriage Laws
Tribal women wait for their children at a UNICEF school.   (AP Photo)

A group of some 1000 Afghans today swarmed a demonstration of 300 women in Kabul protesting a new conservative marriage law. The women were pelted with small stones as police struggled to keep the two groups apart. The law, passed last month, says a husband can demand sex from his wife every four days unless she is ill or would be harmed by intercourse—a clause that critics say legalizes marital rape.

Women's rights activists scheduled today's protest, attended by mostly young women. But counterprotesters—both men and women—swamped the group and shouted down the women's chants. Some picked up gravel and stones and threw them at the women, while others shouted, "Death to the slaves of the Christians!" Female police held hands around the group to create a protective barrier. (More Afghanistan stories.)

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