Sunday, February 28, 2016

Nearly 3,000 Kurds protest in Strasbourg in front of the Council of Europe

Nearly 3,000 Kurds from across Europe have been demonstrating in Strasbourg since Monday to "denounce the silence of the European institutions" faced with an operation directed by Ankara in the southeastern Turkish city of Cizre, and to call them to action.

The protesters have organized an ongoing demonstration in front of the Strasbourg headquarters of the Council of Europe (CoE), of which Turkey is one of 47 member states. They are also demonstrating in front of the seat of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which must, according to the demonstrators, make stronger efforts to demand accountability from the Turkish government for having provoked the death of Kurdish civilians in Cizre.

The demonstrations are being coordinated by the "European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress" and the "European Kurdish Women's Movement," which have already held many protest activities in Strasbourg in order to denounce the imprisonment of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in Turkey since 1999. Between 8,000 Kurds, according to the police, and tens of thousands, according to the organizers, marched in Strasbourg on Feb. 13 before holding a large rally.

Hanim Ozbek, executive member of the "Kurdish Democratic Council in France", called for the "responsibility of the European institutions and the international community" in order to "enforce respect for the values they defend."

Questioned by Xinhua, CoE spokesperson Can Fisek did not comment on this issue in particular. He underlined that "the right to protest is guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights" and noted that "this peaceful demonstration is authorized by the French authorities."

At the beginning of the month, Turkish Special Forces launched an operation in the city of Cizre against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which was listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, killing dozens of Kurds.

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