KABUL (Reuters) - The lynching of a woman by a mob in the Afghan capital continued to fuel public anger on Thursday, as residents gathered at the site of her death to protest a week after the killing.
Mobile phone footage shows the woman, named Farkhunda, was beaten and set on fire by as police looked on, close to the presidential palace and foreign embassies in Kabul.
The 27-year-old had been teaching women about Islamic values at a shrine when the incident erupted, after a caretaker who disagreed with her views falsely accused her of burning a Koran.
A mob of men angry at Farkhunda’s supposed sacrilege beat her to death and set her body on fire.
It is the first time since the Taliban were ousted in 2001 that a popular movement has mobilised in support of a woman. Under the Islamist regime, women were banned from leaving home without a male guardian, denied education and forced to wear the all-covering burqa.
Protesters at the shrine on Thursday included both liberal civil society members and religious officials demanding swift justice from the government after it moved to arrest dozens of people, including police officials for failing to rescue her from her attackers.
Interior Minister Noor ul-Haq Olomi said on Tuesday that 20 officers, including the police chief of the district, had been dismissed over the case.
“We call on the government of Afghanistan to hang all perpetrators in public, whether they are police or ordinary Afghans, as a lesson for future generations,” cleric Abdul Salaam said at the protest.
The killing has fuelled anger about the weak rule of law and corruption that is crippling the country’s institutions.
A demonstration planned for Friday is expected to draw a large crowd.
In 2012 several people were killed in protests across the country after charred copies of the Muslim holy book were found on a military base near Kabul. U.S. President Barack Obama apologised for the incident at the time.
Two people died in Kabul in January during protests against Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, following the killings of staff of the satirical weekly at its offices in Paris by Islamist gunmen.
Writing by Jessica Donati; editing by Andrew Roche