International Women's Day marchers face stones, sticks in Pakistan

International Women's Day marchers face stones, sticks in Pakistan
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Sticks and stones were thrown at women and men participating in an International Women’s Day march on Sunday in Pakistan, video footage shared by organizers of the demonstration showed. 

Women and men marched with signs in Islamabad as part of the Aurat March, using the Urdu word for women, as part of the global events on Sunday, according to Reuters

A rival rally was staged just across from the women’s march venue with hundreds of men and women from the Red Mosque brigade, which consisted of several local militant groups and a Taliban-allied religious party, Reuters reported, citing District Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat. 

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Police official Mazhar Niazi told the news service Islamists threw stones, bricks, sticks and shoes at the marches. Niazi also said officers blocked the Islamists as they tried to break through to attack the marchers. 

Organizers and participants of the march posted videos of the attacks. 

One of the organizers, Ammar Rashid, said Ismat Shahjahan, a secular female leader, was hit with a brick, tweeting an image of her injury. 

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Niazi, however, told Reuters no one was injured and said a criminal case would be registered against the Islamists for violating the law and attempting to attack the women’s march.

Organizers told Reuters that posters and murals were vandalized ahead of this year's march. 

“You know, whatever they do, they can’t scare us. Their scare tactics aren’t going to work on us,” Anam Rathore, one of the organizers of the marches, told the news service.

Marches in other cities in Pakistan were held peacefully amid tight security, according to Reuters.