Thousands of members of the Kurdish community from France and other European countries gathered on Tuesday in Paris to commemorate three victims who were killed during an armed attack at a Kurdish cultural centre on 23 December.
French politicians also joined the commemoration in Villiers-le-Bel organised prior to the bodies of the three victims being returned to their homeland.
The coffins of Emine Kara (Evîn Goyî), a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) executive committee and a prominent women’s rights activist, musician Mîr Perwer (Mehmet Şirin Aydın), and political activist Abdurrahman Kızıl, were wrapped in the flags of the PKK and Rojava, the Kurdish-controlled region of northeast Syria.
The crowd waiting inside a village hall rented for the occasion greeted the coffins with tears, shouting “Şehîd namirin” [Martyrs are Eternal], “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” [Woman, Life, Freedom], and “Biji Serok Apo” [Long Live Leader Apo].
While those inside the hall had a chance to visit the coffins, thousands followed the ceremony outside from giant screens.
Remzi Kartal, co-chair of the People’s Congress of Kurdistan (Kongra-Gel) and the co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F) Xane Akdoğan spoke during the funeral.
“This century will be the year of women and Kurds. No one will be able to stand against this,” said Akdoğan.
The Kurdish community in France is also preparing for two other events this week. A white march will be held on Wednesday rue d’Enghien on the scene of the tragedy at the end of December.
On January 7, Kurds will come together for a great march to be organised for the victims of the both the December attack and a 2013 attack on Kurds in Paris.
In 2013, three female Kurdish activists, including one of the founders of the PKK, were killed by a Turkish gunman in Paris. The case related to this incident has remained unsolved, while the main suspect, allegedly linked to the Turkish intelligence, died in prison in 2016.
For many Kurds in France and beyond, the December murders were a continuation of the shooting 10 years ago. The Kurdish community insists that the December attack should be seen as terrorism and the role of Turkish intelligence in the murders should be investigated.
French authorities have arrested a 69-year-old retiree as the main suspect in the shooting that killed three people and wounded three others on 23 December.