Afghanistan women protest controversial law restricting women's rights Matt Glenn at 7:45 AM ET
[JURIST] A group of approximately 300 Afghan women protesting a law that critics say severely curtails womens' rights were confronted by a crowd of approximately 1,000 counter-protesters Wednesday, some of whom threw stones and gravel at the women. The protest took place outside a mosque run by Shi'ite cleric Mohammad Asif Mohseni who spoke out [JURIST report] in support of the Shi'ite Personal Status Law [JURIST news archive] over the weekend. Police stood between the two groups [AP report] to prevent further violence against the women. Protesters say that the new law, which reportedly allows husbands to demand sex from their wives at any time except in a few narrowly defined circumstances and prevents women from leaving their home unaccompanied without their husband's permission, is reminiscent of laws under the Taliban [JURIST news archive] and violates Afghanistan's constitution [text, PDF]. The larger group of counter-protesters shouted down the protesters, claiming that the protesters and international critics of the law are attempting to interfere with Afghan democracy. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] supported the protest [press release] and urged Afghanistan's government to heed the protesters' call to the reverse the law.
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