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Reportback: Demo in Solidarity with #Afrin & for the Freedom of #Öcalan in #Strasbourg

I went to many demonstrations in solidarity with Afrin in Germany, but yesterdays demonstration in Strasbourg, France was the first time I went to a demonstration in a city where Kurdish symbols and flags are not forbidden. That made a big difference.

Published by Enough is Enough. Written by Riot Turtle

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of  these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Read all the reports by Riot Turtle; here.

Reportback: Demo in Solidarity with Afrin & for the Freedom of Öcalan in Strasbourg

I went to many demonstrations in solidarity with Afrin in Germany, but yesterdays demonstration in Strasbourg, France was the first time I went to a demonstration in a city where Kurdish symbols and flags are not forbidden. That made a big difference.

As the repression against the Kurdish movement is increasing rapidly, me and a few other people decided to travel to the demo in Strasbourg with Kurdish comrades. I expected possible trouble with German cops on our way to France.

One of the first things I noticed was the atmosphere in the bus. We sung songs about the resistance and live in Rojava and one of the German comrades that traveled with us became the nickname berxwedan (resistance). But there were also many good discussions about the Turkish attack against Afrin, about repression against the Kurdish movement in Germany and the German arms exports to the Turkish army. It was a determined, but good mood on the bus.  

The German cops indeed stopped our bus at the border, but after a short discussion our bus could continue. The cops had 5 vans on the border, but only 2 cops were outside. It was raining and it was really cold. When we arrived in Strasbourg our bus was checked again, this time by 2 French riot cops. They asked us if we had clubs or sticks with us, after they didn’t get an answer they left again. In other words; we arrived in Strasbourg without any major problems.

About 3 hours before the demo started there were already several 1000 people. They were singing, chanting and dancing in the pouring rain which went to wet snow. There was free hot soup and tea and coffee for everybody, which was really good and something that Cologne (Germany) police authorities had forbidden on a demo in solidarity with Afrin on January 27. It was really cold but more and more people arrived and although the weather didn’t improve people where highly motivated. Chanting for hours before the demo even started. 

In the area around the demo there were many riot cops and water canons, but they kept distance. In Germany demonstrations in solidarity with Afrin are stopped or banned when cops see a few YPG, YPJ or Öcalan flags. Sometimes with a lot of police violence. In almost other European countries Kurdish flags and symbols are not forbidden and most demonstrations of the Kurdish movement in these countries are peaceful, since there are no violent cops storming demonstrations because somebody has a flag. The Tanks and other arms that were sold to the Turkish army by the authoritarian German state are killing people in Afrin every day but Kurdish flags and symbols are criminalized. 

In Strasbourg people were marching with YPJ, YPG and Övalan flags and even some PKK flags. Since these flags are not forbidden in France, the cops did not interfere. There was one situation where a dozen cops came into the demo to detain somebody but determined Kurdish comrades prevented the detention. They immediately formed a chain and the cops retreatet again. Both sides also didn’t use violence in this situation and after the cops retreated stewards of the organizers formed a chain between the cops and the demo. 

The wet snow kept falling all day and after a loud and strong march we reached the final point of the demonstration. About 25.000 people demanded the Turkish army to stop the attacks against Afrin and the release of Abduallah Öcalan, who is imprisoned since February 1999. 

On our way back German cops stopped our bus at the German/French border again. They took a few id’s to check them but after about 10 minutes we could continue our journey back home. It was an an inspiring day in Strasbourg and the collaboration with our Kurdish comrades had a real boost. 

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