Kurds hold mourning march after Paris shooting that killed 3 people
PARIS — Members of the Kurdish community in France and others staged a silent march on Monday in honor of the three people killed in a shooting at a Kurdish cultural center in Paris. Prosecutors allege there was a racist motive.
Turkey summoned the French ambassador on Monday about what it called “black propaganda” by Kurdish activists in the wake of the shootings. Some marched in Paris with the flag of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), or suggested that Turkey was involved in the shootings.
The Paris prosecutor said a 69-year-old French man was facing preliminary murder charges over Friday’s shooting. According to prosecutors, the suspect told investigators he intended to kill migrants or foreigners and then planned to kill himself, adding that he had a “sickening” hatred ” for non-European expats.
He was briefly placed in psychiatric care, but was later returned to regular police custody, and appeared Monday before an investigative judge. The suspect’s name has not been officially released, although he has been identified by French media as William K.
The shooting shocked and angered the Kurdish community in France, who staged a silent march on Monday. Protesters marched from the site of Friday’s shooting to the site where three female Kurdish activists were found shot dead in 2013.
“Every day we wonder when someone will shoot us back. Dagan Dogan, a 22-year-old Kurd at Monday’s march, said 10 years ago we were attacked in central Paris and 10 years later we were attacked again. Why is nothing done to protect us?
The solemn procession ended peacefully. Fighting broke out in the vicinity of where the killings took place on Friday, and again on the sidelines of a mostly peaceful Kurdish-led protest on Saturday.
Prosecutors say the suspect had an apparent racist motive for the shooting.
Anti-apartheid activists and left-wing politicians have associated it with an atmosphere of online hate speech and anti-immigrant, xenophobic rhetoric by far-right figures. The French government has reported an increase in crime and offenses related to race or religion in recent years.
French authorities called Friday’s attack a single incident, but some Kurdish activists in Paris suggested it was politically motivated.
Turkey summoned French Ambassador Herve Magro on Monday to express its displeasure over what it called black propaganda carried out by Kurdish militant groups against Turkey in the wake of the attack, the news agency reported. Anadolu tons of the Turkish state reported.
Turkey “hopes that France acts cautiously on the incident and does not allow the terrorist organization (banned PKK) to carry out its stealth agenda,” Anadolu reported.
The PKK has waged an armed separatist insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 for independence, which has recently morphed into a demand for greater autonomy. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced many, with significant numbers of ethnic Kurds and alleged PKK supporters emigrating to European countries.
The Turkish military has been battling PKK-linked Kurdish fighters in southeastern Turkey as well as in northern Iraq, and has recently launched a series of attacks against militant targets. Kurds in northern Syria.
Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group, but Turkey accuses several European countries of being lenient towards alleged PKK members. That frustration is the main reason behind Turkey’s continued delay in NATO accession for Sweden and Finland.
Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey and Oleg Cetinic in Paris, contributed to this report.