A world day of solidarity with Kobane
Thousands of people took to the streets throughout Europe today in a demonstration of support for Kurds in Kobane, the Syrian border town under siege from Islamic State (IS) fighters for more than a month.
This is a crucial moment for Kurdish activism. We are coming together as never before and with global support as never before,” Aysegul Erdogan, a Kurdish human rights activist and one of the organisers of the demonstration in London’s Trafalgar Square, told Rudaw. Thousands of people waved multi-coloured flags and placards in the sun as they listened to speeches from members of parliament and human rights activists.
In Turkey, there were fears that protests in the capital Istanbul and Turkey’s biggest Kurdish city Diyarbakir could turn violent. Several hundred people, mainly leftist groups and supporters of the banned PKK marched through Istanbul’s main shopping district waving PKK and YPG flags and pictures of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, despite warnings from the government the protest was illegal and it would come down hard on any civil disturbance.
Water cannons and hundreds of riot police armed with tear gas stood watch only metres away stopping the group’s advance while protesters shouted anti IS slogans as well as “Free Kurdistan”.
Ankara has said it will hold the main pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) responsible for any violence after it made a call earlier this week for people to take to the streets. Some 40 people were killed during riots over Kobane in Kurdish cities last month following a similar call by the HDP.
The Dogan news agency reported that some 20,000 protesters had also gathered in Diyarbakir.
Elsewhere in Europe, demonstrators carrying green and gold Kurdish flags and placards saying “Hands Off Kobane” thronged the streets in major cities from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, with some protestors supporting or criticising their own governments’ actions in the crisis.
More on Rudaw (Kurdish News Service)
See also: Manifestations en Turquie et en Europe en solidarité avec Kobané
YPG and YPJ commanders Mahmut Berxwedan and Roza Kobane saluted everyone that joined the “World Kobane Day” demonstrations across the world. The commanders said, “We promise victory in Kobane to the millions that have expressed their support and solidarity”.
The commanders also said that the scenes that came through from across the globe has boosted the morale of the YPG and YPJ fighters and that the resistance of the fighters in Kobane and the activities of the millions of supporters of the resistance were complimentary to each other.
YPJ commander Roza Kobane especially thanked all the women in the world who participated in the 1 November activities by saying that, “we give our word to the women of the world to continue our struggle for the liberation of women”.
Kabul (Via, Initiative Communiste Ouvrière)
Northern Kurdistan, Diyarbakir.
London (thanks to beloved comrade Gemma).
Speakers included Mark Thomas, Peter Tatchell and representatives of Kurdish organisations.
More on London here.