Kurds and their friends organised rallies over the weekend in London, Vienna, and Düsseldorf in support of Abdullah Öcalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who has been in isolation in Turkey’s İmralı island prison since 1999.
Hundreds of people including the Migrant Workers Cultural Association and various international groups attended a march in London on Sunday organised by the Kurdish People’s Democratic Assembly of Britain (NADEK). “The peoples of the Middle East cannot be liberated before Leader Apo (Öcalan) is liberated, said Ercan Akbal from NADEK at the protest.
The London march began with a minute’s silence in memory of the martyrs of the Kurdistan freedom struggle, and protesters carried banners reading “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan”.
A similar march was held in Vienna, also on Sunday, and speeches made on behalf of several Kurdish organisations emphasised Öcalan’s contributions to the anti-capitalist struggle worldwide. The speakers pointed out that Öcalan’s situation remains unchanged, although the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly condemned the conditions in Imrali Island Prison as inhumane.
Thousands of people from all over Germany and nearby countries rallied for the freedom of Öcalan in Düsseldorf on Saturday. At the end of the rally, a minute’s silence was observed to remember those who have died in the Kurdish liberation struggle.
Zübeyde Zümrüt and Engin Sever, co-chairs of the Confederation of Kurdish Societies in Germany (KON-MED), welcomed the crowd, and various leaders of the Kurdish movement made speeches. A recorded message from Cemil Bayık, co-chair of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), emphasised Öcalan’s importance to the Kurdish people, saying they have regained their identity through him. Bayık added that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) coalition is “battered and must be brought to an end” in the country’s 14 May elections. All democratic forces need to work together for this,” Bayık said.