Thousands of Kurdish protestors gathered in front of the Ahmet Kaya Cultural Centre in the 10th arrondissement of Paris on Saturday to march to the Place de la République to condemn Friday’s attack that left three people dead and three others wounded.
According to French authorities, a 69-year-old shooter with far-right links attacked the centre on Friday, while the Kurdish activists hold the Turkish state and the government responsible for the incident.
The Paris police chief met the members of the Kurdish community on Saturday ahead of the demonstration to alleviate their fears. Some left-wing politicians and anti-racist groups also joined Kurdish protestors condemning the attacks and demanding French authorities uncover the details of the murders.
The trauma of a similar attack in 2013 in Paris in which three female Kurdish activists, including a founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were killed resonates in today’s protests. Many Kurds are furious with French authorities, as the 2013 assassinations still remain unsolved, and are suspicious that an effective investigation will be conducted into Friday’s murders.
“Even if there is not a direct proof of a link between the killer and Turkey, or the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish secret services, there is a general atmosphere created by Erdoğan who is threatening to invade Kurdish-controlled Rojava in Syria, who is considering Kurdish people as terrorists, and who is putting Kurdish politicians in jail,” said Media News correspondent Chris Den Hond, who joined Saturday’s protest.
Different politicians representing the whole political spectrum are calling on the French government to reveal the details of the attack through a much more serious investigation than the one carried out ten years ago, Den Hond said. French politicians are also demanding the government take a firmer stance against Erdoğan and Turkey’s aggressive policies, he said.
The gunman of the 2013 assassinations, Ömer Günay, was linked to the Turkish intelligence according to evidence uncovered mainly by the Kurdish media. Günay died in prison before his trial started and the legal process remained frozen since then.
The shooter from Friday’s attacks has previous records of attacks against migrants and was released on bail pending trial on 12 December. However, the previous incidents of the suspect are, to a large extent, low-profile compared to the attack on Friday.
The protest on Saturday was generally peaceful, apart from some clashes between activists and the police. The police again used tear gas to disperse some of those protestors as it did during the demonstration on Friday in front of the Ahmet Kaya Cultural Centre.