After attack in Paris: thousands commemorate killed Kurds

As of: 01/03/2023 5:01 p.m

Thousands of people have gathered in Paris to pay their last respects to the Kurdish murder victims. The three coffins were carried through the crowd to a hall. People lined up to say goodbye.

A week and a half after what was probably a racist attack in Paris, members of the Kurdish community commemorated the three fatalities at a funeral service. Thousands of people received the coffins of the dead in the Paris suburb of Villiers-le-Bel, photos and videos showed. According to French media reports, around 10,000 people were expected to attend the funeral service. The police and the local town hall initially gave no information on the number of participants.

Wrapped in flags of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the three coffins were carried through the crowd into a ceremonial hall. Thousands of people watched the funeral service outside the hall on large screens, inside was a picture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who was imprisoned in Turkey.

Members of the Kurdish community stand in front of the coffins of the three victims and say goodbye.

Image: AFP

Burial in the Kurdish homeland

“We’re here because it’s our duty. Our parents have been fighting for years, and we’re continuing it,” said Celik, around 30 years old, according to the AFP news agency, referring to the Kurds’ struggle for independence. These live as a minority in Turkey, but also in Syria, northern Iraq and Iran.

Kurds traveled to Villiers-le-Bel in special buses from several European countries to pay their last respects to Abdurrahman Kizil, the Kurdish singer Mir Perwer and Emine Kara. The Kurdish umbrella organization Democratic Kurdish Council in France (CDK-F) announced that the dead would later be transported to their Kurdish homeland and buried there.

Kurds see connection with Turkey

On December 23, a man fired multiple shots outside a Kurdish community center and at a nearby hair salon, killing three people. Three other people were injured in the attack in the tenth arrondissement of Paris. Five of the victims have Turkish citizenship, one victim is French.

According to the CDK-F, they were all Kurdish activists. The association had rated the attack as a “terrorist attack”, which came after numerous Turkish threats. Turkey has long fought Kurdish independence movements promoted by the PKK and other Kurdish organizations.

French investigators, on the other hand, speak of a racist motive. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the alleged perpetrator confessed to a “pathological hatred of foreigners”. He is in custody.

The 69-year-old Frenchman was only released from custody shortly before the attack because of an earlier crime. In December 2021, he attacked migrants in a Paris camp with a saber. He injured two people and cut up several tents.

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