Activists host Afghanistan citizen human rights protest

Adam Correa

Locals+gather+in+support+of+citizens+of+Afghanistan+in+downtown+San+Diego.

Catlan Nguyen

Locals gather in support of citizens of Afghanistan in downtown San Diego.

by Adam Correa, Contributor

On Saturday, Aug. 28, a global movement took place in 41 cities and 17 countries around the world. One of those cities was San Diego. About 250 people took to the streets chanting “Free Afghanistan” and “Save Afghanistan” to fight for support for the many innocent Afghan citizens.

On Aug. 15, the Taliban took over the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul. On Aug. 26, a suicide bombing occurred at the Kabul Airport killing about 170 Afghan citizens and 13 U.S. service members. Nine marines and one sailor out of the 13 U.S. service members were from Camp Pendleton.

Sana Hashemi, a member of the Global Organizing Team, said she was proud of the amount of people that showed up to the protest. 

“Considering this [announcement about the protest] was very short notice, this is incredible, we are a part of a global team and we might have had one of the biggest groups come out today,” Hashemi said.

The protest started at Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego with people giving speeches. Then, came a march around the city. All the protesters were led by security guards and policemen through the streets. 

Men, women and children continually chanted throughout the march even when the organizers grew silent.

Mursel Sabir, an international studies graduate student from University of California San Diego, said the purpose of the protest was to promote human rights.

“We’re out here today to amplify the voices of Afghan nationals and for so many who kind of see what’s going on.” Sabir said. “This is something that is really close to home for us, our families, our friends and we just want to promote human rights.” 

As the march continued, the protesters stopped in front of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building chanting “we want refugees.” 

Protesters march in the streets of downtown to show solidarity with Afghanistan.
(Catlan Nguyen) Protesters march in the streets of downtown to show solidarity with Afghanistan.

“We want the refugee center to accept all of those immigrants who are endangered in Afghanistan,” said Mumtaz Momand, a member of the Global Organizing Team, as he stood in front of the Immigration building speaking to the protesters.

The march stopped in Little Italy where a lot of people were on the sidewalk or sitting down at a restaurant. They were recording the protesters going through the streets, chanting with them or both. 

“We demand the promise to keep and expand the airlift program for as long as there are people seeking to leave,” said Hashemi. “This includes the expansion to outside of the gates of the airport to ensure that people are afforded safe passage free from persecution and or threats.”

The march paused in every major area of downtown San Diego. They wanted to make sure people knew why they were protesting through the streets.

The protest was filled with emotion, as some of the participants had lost loved ones in Afghanistan. 

“My 15-year-old brother, this past June he passed away in Afghanistan while we were there and I was with my family and due to the lack of resources, he passed away,” Hashemi said. 

Due to her brother’s lack of access to oxygen and other medical attention, he died of an asthma attack.    

Hashemi said the reason she fights so hard for the people of Afghanistan is so they are able to have resources to be happy, live healthy lives and stay safe.

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