| 25 May 2024, Saturday |

Kurds clash with police in Paris for second day after killings

Police and Kurdish community members enraged over the murders of three of their community members on Friday clashed for a second day in a row in Paris on Saturday.

Near Republic Square, the city’s usual gathering place for protests and the site of the Kurds’ earlier peaceful march, cars were flipped over, at least one vehicle was burnt, and small fires were lit.

As some protesters exited the square, fights broke out. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd. After around two hours of fighting, the protestors dispersed.

gunman carried out the killings at a Kurdish cultural centre and nearby cafe on Friday in a busy part of Paris’ 10th district, stunning a community preparing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the unresolved murder of three activists.

Police arrested a 69-year-old man who the authorities said had recently been freed from detention while awaiting trial for a sabre attack on a migrant camp in Paris a year ago.

Following questioning of the suspect, investigators had added a suspected racist motive to initial accusations of murder and violence with weapons, the prosecutor’s office said on Saturday.

After an angry crowd clashed with police on Friday afternoon, the Kurdish democratic council in France (CDK-F) organized a gathering on Saturday at Republic Square.

Hundreds of Kurdish protesters, joined by politicians including the mayor of Paris’ 10th district, waved flags and listened to tributes to the victims.

“We are not being protected at all. In 10 years, six Kurdish activists have been killed in the heart of Paris in broad daylight,” Berivan Firat, a spokesperson for the CDK-F, told BFM TV at the demonstration.

She said the event turned violent after some protesters were provoked by people in a passing vehicle who displayed a Turkish flag and made a nationalistic gesture.

Friday’s murders came ahead of the anniversary of the killings of three Kurdish women in Paris in January 2013.

After the primary suspect passed away just before going to trial, the investigation was closed; it was then reopened in 2019.

“The Kurdish population is terrified. It has already suffered from the triple homicide’s trauma (in 2013). It requires responses, assistance, and consideration “A representative for the CDK-F, David Andic, told reporters on Friday.

When Kurdish leaders met with the head of the Paris police on Saturday, they underlined their demand that the shooting on Friday be classified as a terror act.

The prosecutor’s office said that the suspect was still being questioned.

  • Reuters