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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – French police on Monday deployed tear gas to disperse Kurdish activists who broke into the territory of the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg, the Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace newspaper reported.
According to the media outlet, dozens of protesters came from neighbouring Germany, demanding the release of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) founder, Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence in Turkey. PKK supporters threw bottles at law enforcement officers and shouted slogans in Kurdish.
It took the police about 40 minutes to restore order in the area. The Council of Europe building remains closed due to the Easter holidays.
Videos showing police detaining the activists emerged online.
💥🇫🇷 Fransa – France – Strasbourg
La police a essuyé des jets de projectiles de la part des kurdes du PKK qui veulent nuire aux relations Turquie – France en créant des heurts. Elle a répliqué par les gaz lacrymos
Video ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/pBT4f2YiIk
— La Poutre d’Istanbul (@martopirlo1) April 5, 2021
Des jeunes kurdes ont investi le bâtiment du CPT à Strasbourg,pour attirer l’attention sur la situation des prisonniers politiques kurdes en grève de la faim.Ils veulent que CPT intervient pour en finir avec l’isolement d’Ocalan. Seul Ocalan peut arrêter l’action des prisonniers https://t.co/IMcXKyOr27
— A.Firat.Baran (AFB) (@afb_1984) April 5, 2021
Daniel Holtgen, Director of Communications and Spokesperson for the Secretary-General at the Council of Europe, took to Twitter to thank the police for their work.
Thank you to Strasbourg police for having – once again – rapidly dissolved a violent intrusion of PKK demonstrators on the property of the Council of Europe and ensured the safety of CoE staff on site. pic.twitter.com/I4RjnDpchf
— Daniel Holtgen (@CoESpokesperson) April 5, 2021
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey and has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. It was founded by Ocalan in 1978. In 1984, the party openly launched an armed struggle against the Turkish authorities. By 1998, the PKK battle groups were defeated, and Ocalan was arrested and sentenced to death. His death sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment.
© AFP 2021 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
In March 2013, Ocalan issued a statement in which he called for a ceasefire and urged the fighters of his organization to withdraw from Turkey. In the spring of 2013, PKK military units were withdrawn to neighbouring Iraqi Kurdistan — after the regional government gave its consent — and regrouped in the Qandil mountains near the Iraq-Turkish border. The truce, however, collapsed two years later.