France’s Kurds Protest after Paris Killings

Representatives of France’s Kurdish community gathered in central Paris Saturday for a demonstration to demand answers in the killing of three Kurds in the French capital they say has exposed the community’s vulnerability.

A gunman carried out the killings at a Kurdish cultural center and nearby cafe Friday in a busy part of Paris’ 10th district.

Police arrested a 69-year-old man, who authorities said had recently been freed from detention while awaiting trial for a sabre attack on a migrant camp in Paris a year ago.

After an angry crowd clashed with police Friday afternoon, the Kurdish democratic council in France (CDK-F) called on its website and social media channels for a gathering at midday (1100 GMT) Saturday at Republic Square, a traditional venue for demonstrations in the city.

Several hundred people gathered in the square, with many holding flags.

Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said Friday that possible racist motives would be part of the investigation, but Kurdish representatives said it should be considered a terror attack.

“We know that we are under threat, Kurds in general, Kurdish activists and militants. France owes us protection,” Berivan Firat, a spokesperson for the CDK-F told BFM TV.

Friday’s murders caused particular dismay in the Kurdish community as it prepared to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the killings of three Kurdish women in Paris.

“The Kurdish community is afraid. It was already traumatized by the triple murder (in 2013). It needs answers, support and consideration,” David Andic, a lawyer representing the CDK-F told reporters Friday.

Paris’ police chief was due to meet members of the Kurdish community Saturday morning ahead of the afternoon protest.

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