Won’t Back Down!

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Gun shots rent through the crisp cold night air, there was a screeching of tyres and the choking stench of burning rubber was in the air. Tyre lit bonfires cordoned off the street. A sound of breaking glass followed by screams and pleas for help! Car after car sped off almost causing more accidents on the way attempting to serve past the machete wielding women in the streets.

The women were garbed in vests, with the words, “She was my daughter too!” There were ululations and more stones thrown breaking glass. The woman sang and danced machetes in air with periodic gestures of hacking as part of their dance.

Another shot in the air, followed by a hiss and a cloud of smoke, screams and choking filled the air. The women were dispersed by the tear gas. Wailing ensued, voices painfully calling out the name of Allah and Jesus, it had been a long 5 days of protest.

Some women ran in to the supermarket and in jiffy were back with bottled water, people doused their faces with water to relieve the irritation. More shouts.

“You have no place here! Go home to your husbands! And be honorable women!” A voice called out from the megaphone from the police side. It was a stand off. Officers in riot gear and women protesting the rape and murder of a teenage girl right outside the police station less than a week before; they wanted justice.

Police officers watched the girl as she pleaded for assistance they did nothing. The girl’s mother sat still day in day out on the tarmac in the middle of the road. She was in shock and that was the only way she could find justice for her daughter. Despite the police’s argument that it occurred at night, it was outside their premises and it was barely 9pm.

Just a year earlier a similar case was reported of abduction outside the police station of a 16 year old boy who was found gagged, beaten, sodomized and left for dead. The boy was fortunate enough to survive, but has never spoken since. There was increasing cases of abuse and assault of teenagers, specifically, and the mothers on the street wanted to know why. And have whoever was perpetrating this act, stopped and jailed.

“You have done nothing! NOTHING! You call yourself the police? Yet our children are killed at your doorstep.Why should we respect you? Why should we listen to you? You don’t care about our children…US! Throw as much tear gas as you want! We are going nowhere till Miriam finds justice, even if it means jailing all of you!”

Miriam’s mother had arisen and spoke through her megaphone for the first time in 5 days. She wasn’t going anywhere, if it meant going down with the cops she would.


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