Woman's mob killing sparks global #JusticeForFarkhunda movement

Afghan woman beaten to death by crowd
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Story highlights

  • Farkhunda was beaten and killed by a mob; her lifeless body was then run over by a car and burned
  • The attack sparked global calls for justice
  • Afghan women are taking an unusually public role in the movement

(CNN)The vicious mob killing of an Afghan woman has sparked protests in her country and a global movement demanding justice, complete with its own hashtag.

Vigils will be held Thursday evening around the world, including in New York City and Toronto. More are planned for this Sunday.
The strength of the #JusticeForFarkhunda movement in her own country was clear Tuesday as thousands of Afghans ignored the harsh rain beating down in Kabul and joined a rally.
    Wearing raincoats and carrying umbrellas, participants shouted "Justice for Farkhunda" as they made their way through the streets leading to the Supreme Court.
    When they reached the building, the crowd chanted for three hours.
    Women of all ages attended .
    "I saw young boys and girls coming with their parents," said Ramin Anwari, a justice and rights advocate in Kabul who helped to arrange Tuesday's rally.
    Last week, Farkuhunda, 27, was beaten and kicked by a mob of male attackers. Her lifeless body was then run over by a car, before being set on fire and thrown over a bridge.
    Her alleged crime was burning a Quran -- something her father said his daughter, a religious teacher, would never do. Afghanistan's Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs said it had found no evidence she burned a Quran. Twenty-six people have been arrested, government officials say.
    Banners with a photo of Farkhunda's bloodied face, taken moments before she died, were held up throughout the crowds Tuesday. Some people wore masks of the image.
    Activists read a statement describing Farkhunda's murder and called on the government to allow the trials in the case to be made public. Trials in Afghanistan are almost always behind closed doors and are only made public in rare cases.
    "I am sure the judges could hear us inside," said Anwari, who was surprised to see so many women and men side by side in attendance.
    "In the past, women marching in public was limited to extreme activists," said Anwari, "but this time I saw families and mothers and housewives."
    During Farkhunda's funeral on Sunday, her coffin was carried to the grave by women. This shocked the thousands in attendance because in Afghanistan, it is customary for only men to serve as pallbearers.
    Afghan women rights activists carry the coffin of 27-year-old Farkhunda, an Afghan woman who was beaten to death by a mob.
    "The night before the funeral, an idea emerged from the activists that the body should be carried out by the women," said Anwari, "to send a message about what is happening with the women in this country."
    At the site where Farkhunda was burned, protesters have planted a tree.
    A makeshift sign was made by local carpenters and blacksmiths that said, "Martyr Farkhunda Street," and placed on the street by the shrine where Farkhunda was killed.
    "There is a dangerous mentality in our country," Anwari said. "I am worried about the mentality and the public toward these issues. This mentality has to be tackled on social media."
    "We have to be careful that this brutality isn't the norm and doesn't happen again," he said.
    Tthe #JusticeForFarkhunda movement took root quickly, far beyond Afghanistan. More than a thousand candles were lit in the heart of Washington.
    Vigils are scheduled for Sunday from London to Brisbane.
    "It is really important to bear down with the momentum because of Farkhunda," said Anwari, "so it engages the public and they know everyone is able to demand justice."