Large numbers of protesters have taken to the streets in France after 3 Kurdish people were gunned down. The murders are yet another instance of anti-immigrant violence that many believe the state is not doing enough to prevent.
Two days before Christmas, a man entered a Kurdish cultural center and opened fire. Six people were were shot, and three of them died. The gunman was detained by those being attacked until police arrived.
The attacker, a man in his late 60s, had already committed xenophobic attacks just a year prior. He attacked a migrant camp with a sword before being arrested by police. The suspect was recently released from custody while awaiting trial for those attacks.
Many quickly took to the streets after the attack. Protesters expressed their anger over what they view as police and government inaction in response to racism and anti-immigrant attacks in France. In recent days the protests have become increasingly destructive, with protester overturning vehicles and clashing with police. More than ten demonstrators have already been arrested.
Now the issue has even extended outside of France’s boarders, most notably to Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Ministry even summoned a French envoy over what it claims are “anti-Ankara protests” in Paris. However, the Turkish government is also infamous for its horrible treatment of Kurds, meaning their views and statements are likely to be quite biased.
Turkey also released statements regarding “concerns” about propaganda they allege is being spread by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and People’s Protection Units International (YBG) elements in France, though no evidence has been presented. They have yet to make statements regarding the allegations of members of The Grey Wolves showing up to the protests to provoke demonstrators.
The Grey Wolves are a ultra-nationalist right wing group, described by many as neo-fascist, that has a long history of violence against many groups including the Kurds. At recent protests there were reports of Grey Wolves, or at least their supporters, showing up and flashing the Grey Wolves hand gesture, likely in an attempt to spark further tensions.
These most recent protests are not simply because of the most recent murders. They date back years, and have included numerous cases including a case from 2013 when three female Kurdish activists were murdered. The case remains unsolved and many view it as another example of the police disregarding violence against immigrant communities.
The protests began quite peacefully, however when police came out to put an end to the demonstrations clashes broke out. These protests may continue for some time as immigrants have faced continued discrimination and even violence at the hands of anti-immigrant groups and individuals in France over recent years, and many feel the government continues to fail to protect them. Whether the protests will get results that create a safer and more hospitable environment for immigrants is yet to be seen.