Rallies were held across Europe on 1 November to mark the occasion of what has come to be known as ‘World Kobane Day‘ marking the anniversary of a call in Turkey by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) for international solidarity with Syria’s north-eastern city of Kobane, and the historical struggle put up against the brutal siege of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Autumn of 2014.
Hundreds of people joined a rally in the Resselpark Square in Vienna, Austria on Monday following a call of Kurdish organisations and “Rise Up 4 Rojava” campaigners.
Throughout the rally, people carried the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) flags often chanting “Bijî Serok Apo,” (meaning “Long live leader Apo, as Apo referring to Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and “Şehid Namirin,” (meaning “martyrs never die”).
A group of Turkish ultra-nationalists reportedly attempted to provoke the people at the rally, but the rally continued in a peaceful manner with songs and marches about the Kobane resistance and the Kurdish freedom struggle being played and sang all together, according to ANF.
London also staged a colourful rally organised by Kurdish community organisations and a celebration event in the Kurdish Community Centre on Monday night.
London protesters chanted the slogans, “Bijî Berxwedana Kobanê,” (meaning “Long live Kobane resistance”), “Bijî Berxwedana YPJ,” and “Bijî Berxwedana YPG”, (meaning “Long live the resistance of the YPJ and YPG”) as they marched carrying YPG and YPJ flags.
There have also been many celebrations in Germany as well as Kurds and their international friends taking to the streets in Bielefeld, Dortmund, Kassel, Munich and Stuttgart.
Those who participated in a rally in Dortmund held banners that read, “Kobane is the dignity of humanity,” and “No fly zone for Rojava”.
Hundreds chanted the slogans “Long live Kobane”, “Biji berxwedana Kobane,” (meaning “Long live Kobane resistance”, and “Terrorist Erdoğan,” as they danced all together with Kurdish traditional dance “govend” with the Kurdish songs of resistance.
In Stuttgart, Kurdish organisations and anti fascist groups organised a march with a main banner reading, “Against imperialism and fascism, rise up together connecting struggles internationally,” despite being continuously blocked by the German police, ANF reported.
ANF reported excessive police measures and that the police stopped the march four times and detained 4 protesters.
More than 100 police officers attempted to impose a ban on the slogans and intervened against the Kurdish youth, who chanted the slogan, “Bijî Serok Apo”. There was also reportedly physical tensions between the police and the protesters.
“We will never let you ban our language and we will not stop saying “Bijî Serok Apo”; not for one second. We have broken our chains shouting Bijî Serok Apo and we will liberate ourselves chanting this slogan,” a young Kurd who spoke in the event said.
Rise Up 4 Rojava campaigners protested against the police violence and criticised the German authorities for cooperating with the Turkish government, highlighting that many Kurdish activists and politicians are being kept behind bars in Stammheim Prison.
The Kurdish Society Centre in Bielefield organised an event to commemorate those who lost their lives defending Kobane and Rojava.
Photographs depicting the story of the Kobane resistance and photographs of fallen YPG and YPJ fighters were also exhibited during the event.
The Kurdish community who joined a demonstration in Toulouse, France, not only celebrated the World Kobane Day, but also issued a press statement calling for independent investigations into ongoing allegations of use of chemical weapons against the Kurdish fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan.