A student group has announced a scheduled protest in Kabul Police District 2 (PD2) on Friday, October 30. The demonstration is being held to condemn the comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron following the recent killing of school teacher Samuel Paty near Paris in a suspected Islamist attack. Participants will gather outside the Abdul Rahman Khan Mosque at 13:30 (local time) and will then march towards the French embassy.
Although the protest is expected to remain peaceful, potential clashes between participants and security forces cannot be ruled out. Localized disruptions and an increased security presence are likely in the vicinity of the protest.
Tensions over the government's response to the murder of teacher Samuel Paty by an alleged Islamist extremist in the northern Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on October 16 have seen increasing concerns over the terrorism threat in France and against French interests internationally over the last two weeks. The attack prompted an outpouring of support in France and a strong response from the government which saw dozens arrested and several organizations and mosques closed in a widespread crackdown on alleged Islamic extremism. However, comments from President Emmanuel Macron regarding religious rights and freedom of expression and the display of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad at solidarity rallies following the attack have since prompted accusations of Islamophobia from several Muslim political and religious leaders around the world. Dozens of protests over the crackdown and French government policies have since been held outside French embassies and consulates in multiple countries over the last week, including Turkey, Bangladesh, Iran, Mali, Mauritania, Libya, Pakistan, and Indonesia, some of which have drawn thousands of participants. There have also been widespread calls for a boycott of French goods, particularly foodstuffs, in Muslim-majority countries, with the protest being supported by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and several other Muslim leaders.
Those in Kabul are advised to monitor developments and avoid the area around the French embassy due to the likely disruptions and risk of crowd disturbances. Travelers should avoid all protests and political gatherings in Kabul and heed any directives issued by local authorities.
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