Thousands march in Paris to protest unresolved killings of Kurds
Thousands gather in the French capital to demand justice for three Kurdish activists who were killed in the city 10 years ago.
Thousands of demonstrators have marched in Paris to express their frustration about the unresolved murders of three Kurdish female activists 10 years ago.
The marchers were also mourning the three people killed outside a Kurdish cultural centre in Paris two weeks ago in what prosecutors called a racist attack.
Kurdish activists came to the demonstration from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium in buses, escorted by police, and joined fellow Kurds from France in a peaceful march through northeast Paris on Saturday.
The organisers said at least 25,000 people from across Europe had joined the rally. But Paris police put the figure at 10,000.
The demonstration was timed to mark the 10th anniversary of the killings of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez on January 9, 2013.
Cansiz was a founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider a “terrorist” group.
She was killed “execution style” with shots to the head. Two other women were killed in the same way: Dogan, 28 and Saylemez, 24 at the Kurdish Information Centre in Paris’ 10th district.
The demonstrators carried banners with pictures of the 2013 victims.
More than 1,200 people also marched in the southern French city of Marseille, according to an AFP estimate. Local police said 800 took part in the march.
The suspect in the killings, a Turkish citizen, died in French custody before the case reached the trial. Kurdish activists suspect that the Turkish intelligence service was involved in the murders, something Ankara has always denied.
While most marchers were Kurdish, the crowd also included left-wing French activists and some ethnic Turks.
“Today, we are here to support our Kurdish friends because I am Turkish myself, and it is very important, because what is happening with the Kurdish people can happen to us, as well, tomorrow,” said Ibrahim Halac, a Turkish man living in Paris.
Turkey summoned France’s ambassador last week for what it called “propaganda” by Kurdish activists during a march to mourn three people killed in a shooting at a Kurdish cultural centre in Paris.