Thousands of demonstrators in Amsterdam demand asylum for Afghans

The demonstration started on Dam Square. Photo: ANP/Ramon van Flymen
The demonstration started on Dam Square. Photo: ANP/Ramon van Flymen

An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 demonstrators gathered on Amsterdam’s Dam Square on Saturday to press the Dutch government to grant asylum to Afghan refugees.

The demonstration was part of an international protest movement ‘Stop Killing Afghans Now’, with demonstrations staged in 15 cities in Europe and in the United States on the same day.

Organiser Sahar Shirzad, asked the crowd to observe a minute’s silence before the speeches, which included an account by activist Seweta Zirak of the dangers faced by the LGBTQIA community in Afghanistan.

Waving Afghan flags and banging drums, the protesters then made their way to Museumplein, arriving later than anticipated due to the unexpectedly high turnout.

The protest was organised by Azadi, a movement of young Afghans in the Netherlands. The organisation also launched a petition signed by over 18,000 people. It calls on the government to stop the extradition of Afghans, class Afghanistan as an unsafe country, bring Afghans stranded in the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos to the Netherlands, and evacuate all Afghans who are at risk from the Taliban.

On 11 August, junior justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol told MPs that the Netherlands would not deport asylum seekers to Afghanistan for at least the next six months.

Via her Instagram account, Shirzad told supporters that the demonstration was not about ‘answering the umpteenth media question about whether we have family there’, or being reduced to ‘our story’, but ‘saying what you want’.


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