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  • Tens of thousands are expected to descend on Strasbourg to demand the release of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    Tens of thousands are expected to descend on Strasbourg to demand the release of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. | Photo: Twitter / @KCDKE

An estimated 13,000 to 15,000 pro-PKK marchers are walking to Strasbourg to demand European institutions do more to protect Kurds in Turkey.

Marchers calling for the release of Kurdish guerilla PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and other political prisoners in France were attacked by a group of what Kurdish media called “Turkish fascists” on Thursday before being stopped by police and prevented from continuing on their way to Strasbourg.

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Tens of thousands of supporters of the Kurdish Marxist movement are marching in 25 locations across Europe, leading up to the anniversary of Ocalan’s capture 18 years ago in Kenya through collaboration between Turkey, the CIA and Mossad. 

Those marching from Luxembourg to Strasbourg, a brigade of 70 “internationalist revolutionaries and representatives of Kurdish institutions in Europe,” wrote Kurdish Firat news agency, will descend on the Committee for the Prevention of Torture on February 15 to demand it and other European institutions “fulfill their duties and responsibilities” and condemn the illegal isolation of Ocalan in Imrali prison. 

Some of the marchers were roughed up by the disrupters but police did nothing, Firat agency quoted protesters as saying. Instead, the gendarme threatened to block the march altogether unless three of the protesters were turned in.

The solidarity marches, which have drawn in supporters from 17 countries, are being organized by the European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress, or KCDK-E, and the European Kurdish Women's Movement, or TJKE.

An estimated 15,000 to 17,000 marchers are expected to descend on Strasbourg on Wednesday in the annual event, reported Le Figaro.

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"We remember and commemorate those that set their bodies on fire with the motto, ‘You cannot darken our Sun,’ and expressed their anger at the highest level against the international conspiracy (to imprison Ocalan),” read a statement by KGK, the popular congress of the PKK, on Thursday. 

“The first thing the international powers that want to redesign the Middle East did was to eliminate Ocalan and the PKK.”

The congress asked all to join in the international shows of solidarity, which also called for the release of all Kurdish political prisoners, including the two co-chairs of the HDP, the pro-Kurdish party that upset the ruling coalition and has faced an intense crackdown since Turkey resumed its war with the PKK. 

The co-chairs have been jailed for over three months and face 225 years for alleged links to the PKK, which they both deny.


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