Kurdish communities in Europe gathered throughout the week to observe Newroz, the traditional spring equinox celebration that has a central role in Kurdish collective memory.
Celebrations in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria brought Kurds together as they voiced demands for peace, Kurdish rights, and the lifting of the ban on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Europe.
In Freiburg, Kurds and friends celebrated Newroz with a gathering and a protest march.
Kurds also lit a Newroz fire in Dortmund, accompanied by another march, to celebrate Newroz.
Kurds and their friends held a march in Aachen as well, where they lit a fire in the memory of the deceased, those who were killed in clashes and in the 6 February earthquake that shook Kurdish-majority towns and cities in Turkey and Syria.
Over a thousand Kurds and friends marched through Saarbrücken to celebrate Newroz, with support from German organisations who held a banner that called for constitutional rights for Kurds and the lifting of the PKK ban.
Kurds in Darmstadt marched wth torches chanting “Newroz pîroz be”, with officials from Kurdish organisations and Germany’s Die Linke giving speeches. The Darmstadt children’s choir sang Newroz songs.
Kurds in Bremen celebrated Newroz with a march and celebrations. Three fires were lit in the memory of Mazlum Doğan, an early PKK fighter who set himself on fire behind bars on Newroz 1982 in protest. Participants held a minute of silence, and Die Linke’s Cindi Tuncel gave a speech on Newroz as a day of resistance, unity, and solidarity for the Kurdish people.
Hundreds gathered in Duisburg to celebrate Newroz with a fire lighting and halay dance. North Westphalia Federation Co-chair Ahmet Kobanê spoke about the historic significance of Newroz and sent greetings to jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on the day.
Kurds lit Newroz fires in the Hague, with the community gathering with torches in hand to dance around the Newroz fire and celebrate the coming of spring.
Hundreds gathered in a Newroz celebration organised by the Democratic Kurdish Community Centre and Ronahî Women’s Assembly in Basel.
Kurds and supporters in Bellinzona celebrated Newroz with a torchlit march organised by the Ticino Canton Kurdish Committee and Jiyan Women’s Assembly with Dr Beppe Savary and other Swiss officials speaking in support of the Kurdish people’s struggle for freedom.
The Mothers of Peace lit the Newroz fire at the celebration in Zurich. Festivities will take place in Lausanne and Basel on 22 March, and in Zurich on 23 March.
Kurds in Graz celebrated Newroz by lighting a fire and dancing, with the slogans “Bijî Serok Apo” (“Long Live Leader Abdullah Öcalan”), “Bijî Kurdistan” (“Long Live Kurdistan”) and “Newroz Pîroz Be” (“Happy Newroz”). They also held a minute’s silence for the deceased.
The celebrations in Vienna included speeches from the youth and women’s movements, and the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Unity Party (PYD). Participants chanted slogans in favour of Öcalan and the Kurdish resistance.