Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Dusseldorf, Paris and London on Saturday to call for greater action to protect the Syrian border town of Kobani against the advancing Islamic State militants.
About 20,000 protesters from several German cities and abroad marched peacefully to the local parliament building in Dusseldorf. Waving flags of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and holding banners of imprisoned Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) leader, Abdullah Ocalan, they drew attention of the international community to the Islamic State’s violence towards the Kurds.
In London, where a similar protest has been held right outside the British parliament, several Kurdish protesters were detained. At least three of them were reportedly arrested in a “rough” manner. A huge crowd of Kurds gathered there to deliver their main message – “ISIS = terrorist” – RT’s Harry Fear reports.
In the French capital several thousand Kurds gathered with their children in a peaceful rally to show their support to the residents of besieged Kobani, AFP reports. Some demonstrators also expressed their anger with the Turkish government, carrying posters that read “No to a buffer zone”, proposed by Turkey as a way to avoid interference with the conflict, and caricatures of the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
This week has seen protests dedicated to Kobani’s fate taking place in various cities across Europe, including London, Brussels and The Hague. In Germany – a country with a large Kurdish minority – over 2,000 Kurds gathered in Stuttgart, Mannheim and Karlsruhe, worried about the imminent threat Islamic State militants pose to the Syria’s Kurdish population.
Meanwhile in Turkey which has a 15-million Kurdish population, the protests turned deadly with at least 31 people killed throughout this week. Having detained over 1,000 protesters, riot police had to use tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons during clashes between Kurdish activists and supporters of jihadists. However, the main reason for protests in 35 Turkish provinces was also discontent with the Turkish government, as Kurds pleaded for participation in the military action in Kobani.
On Saturday, defenders of Kobani urged the US and its allies to intensify air strikes on Islamic State fighters to help protect the town, which is facing a massacre, Reuters reports.
More than 40 percent of Kobani which is located on the Syrian-Turkish border has fallen under the control of Islamic State fighters. The European Kurdish diaspora believes the militants are opposed only by the Kurdish peshmerga militias and the international community is failing to take protective action on the ground.
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