Vigil held for shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai

 

Women's rights campaigners have staged a candlelit vigil in support of the 14-year-old schoolgirl shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan.

Around 20 well-wishers gathered in Birmingham's Victoria Square to show their support for Malala Yousafzai, who remains in a stable condition at the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Officials at the hospital have declined to comment on reports that the teenager has been able to move her limbs, but have confirmed that her family members remain in Pakistan.

A brief statement issued by the hospital read: "Malala Yousafzai's condition remains stable.

"She spent a third comfortable night in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and doctors are pleased with her progress so far.

"The various specialist consultants from both the Queen Elizabeth and Birmingham Children's hospitals continue to assess her on a daily basis."

The vigil for Malala, attended by members of Birmingham City Council, was organised by Women2Gether and the Amina Women's Group, which both work to empower women.

Many of those present at the vigil held candles, while others held banners proclaiming "I am Malala" in solidarity with the injured teenager, who was shot as she made her way home from school in north-west Pakistan.

Labour councillor Mariam Khan, who represents the Washwood Heath area of Birmingham, said she had decided to attend the vigil in a personal capacity and on behalf of her community.

Ms Khan told reporters: "Everybody should have the right to freedom and we are standing in solidarity with Malala.

"Education is one of the key things that takes people forward. I went to school and I went to university and to think that there are people fighting just to go to school puts things into perspective."

During the vigil, a statement was read out by a member of the Amina Women's Group, who declined to give her name.

The statement began: "Brave Malala said what so many of us wish to say but we are too afraid.

"A girl of 14 spoke out for the rights of women and girls in a region where fundamentalism is fighting to take hold.

"For this she was shot in the head. Like so many around the world, we are moved and inspired by her bravery and wish her and her friends a speedy recovery."

Malala was flown to the UK on Monday after being attacked for promoting the education of girls and criticising Taliban militants.

More than 600 people from around the world have posted messages of support for the schoolgirl on the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust website.

Doctors at the hospital, which has a decade's experience of treating British military casualties, are now planning the reconstructive operations needed to treat her injuries.

The teenager was shot with two classmates as they made their way home from school in Swat, in the north-west of Pakistan, in what Foreign Secretary William Hague described as a "barbaric attack".

Malala was saved by neurosurgeons at a Pakistani military hospital and has since been in intensive care.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Executive - Opportunities Across The UK

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing, UK based I...

Recruitment Genius: Events Consultant

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen for an ex...

Recruitment Genius: Injection Moulding Supervisor

£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Busy moulding company requires ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Advisor - £35,000 OTE

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Advisor is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003