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Europe

Thousands march in France, Germany, Austria to support Kobane Kurds

media Demonstrators in Paris wear masks of Frenchman Herve Gourdelin and Scottish aid worker David Haines, both killed by the IS Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

At least 5,000 people demonstrated in Paris on Saturday to call for international help for Kurds fighting the Islamic State (IS) armed group in the Syrian city of Kobane. Similar protests took place in Germany and Austria, where two men were seriously injured by IS sympathisers.

“What are you waiting for? Another massacre?” read a banner on the Paris protest, where the red flag of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), currently in peace talks with the Turkish government, were prominent.

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The Kurdish people feel abandoned, Mirel Gurman, a Kurd from Turkey who lives in Paris, told RFI.

The protesters called on France to provide support for Kurdish militias fighting IS, to protect civilians in Kobane and to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees who have fled the city.

Some demonstrators also called for greater autonomy for the Kurdish region of Syria and for Turkey to do more to fight the Islamists.

One of the demonstration’s organisers, Yekbun Eksen, accused Ankara of “macabre calculation”, accusing it of preventing Kurdish volunteers from crossing the border to join the defence of Kobane.

Smaller demonstrations took place in the French cities of Lyon, Mulhouse, Bayonne and Bordeaux.

More than 20,000 marched in Dusseldorf in Germany, which has Europe's largest Kurdish community, France having the second largest.

Hardline Islamists attacked the marches in Bregenz, western Austria, leaving two men hospitalised with stab wounds, one of them in a critical condition, according to police.

Although 23 people were injured in similar clashes in Germany on Friday, there was no violence there on Saturday.
 

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