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Peace convoy embarks on sit-in movement

AT-KABUL: Dozens of peace protesters who had arrived last week in Kabul rallied in the streets of Kabul on Sunday and headed towards UNAMA compound where they will have a sit-in protest for three days.

UNAMA in a tweet welcomed Helmand peace marchers in Kabul. “Our door is open to discuss extension of ceasefire and getting intra-Afghan and Afghan-owned peace talks started,” it said.

Just a week after the Taliban ended a ceasefire and resumed hostility across the country, the peace activists who come from all walks of life are planning to carry out sit-in protests in front of a few foreign embassies to propagate peace.

“We will stage sit in protests for three days in front of each embassy. During these three days, we will try to launch demonstrations in those countries that we are protesting against, said the convoy’s spokesman Bismillah Watandost on Sunday.

He went on to say that these protests are aimed at creating a relationship between peoples of Afghanistan and those countries. “We hope citizens of foreign countries question their governments about why we are protesting outside their embassies,” Watandost said.

Last week after they arrived in Kabul, the protestors had given the Taliban a three-day ultimatum to renounce violence, and said they would embark on sit in protests outside diplomatic offices and missions in the capital if fighting doesn’t cease. The Taliban’s deadline was Friday and after receiving no response from the insurgent group, the peace activists announced on Saturday they would embark on their sit in protest from Sunday – their first stop being the UNAMA compound.

The peace movement initially launched a sit-in protest in Lashkargah city after a suicide bombing outside a stadium. About a month later, a group of eight protestors left Helmand on foot for Kabul, all the while spreading messages of peace. The activists walked through towns and villages, crossed provinces and met with local residents along the way. And as they progressed, so their numbers grew.

About 700km later, the group of eight had grown to an estimated 100. Finally arriving in Kabul last week, they handed over demands for a ceasefire and peace to both the Afghan government and the Taliban.

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