Sunday , April 2 2023

Protests continue against attack on Kurdish Shias in Paris


PARIS: Paris has witnessed a second day of violent unrest after Friday’s deadly attack on the city’s Shia Kurdish community.

Protesters who gathered on Saturday overturned cars, setting some on fire, and hurled objects at police. Officers responded by firing tear gas.

Three people were killed in Friday’s attack, which took place at a Kurdish cultural centre and a restaurant.

The suspect, who has reportedly described himself as racist, has been transferred to a psychiatric facility.

The 69-year-old was released from custody for health reasons following an examination on Saturday, prosecutors said. He is yet to appear before a judge.

In the wake of the shootings, the suspect said he hated foreigners, a police source earlier told media.

The same source said the gunman launched his attack with a “much-used” pistol and was found with a box of at least 25 cartridges and “two or three” loaded magazines.

Witnesses said the attacker – tall, white and elderly – shot dead two men and a woman in the city’s 10th district.

Three others were injured, one of whom remains in a critical condition.

Three places came under fire – the Ahmet-Kaya Kurdish centre, as well as a nearby restaurant and a hairdresser – before the gunman was arrested without a fight.

The suspect, a retired train driver, was detained on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, and was later also charged with acting with a racist motive.

He has a history of weapons offences and it has emerged that he was released on bail just days before the assault.

Last year, he was charged with racist violence over a sword attack at a migrant camp elsewhere in the French capital.

Unrest began soon after Friday’s shootings. Footage showed people starting fires in the streets and smashing car windows.

Police used tear gas as the protesters attempted to break through a security cordon.

Saturday’s renewed violence unfolded after hundreds of Kurds gathered peacefully in the Place de la Republique to pay tribute to the three victims. It was not clear what sparked the clashes.

Police said 31 officers and one protester had been injured, and 11 arrests were made.

In the aftermath of the shootings, Kurds have called for better protection from the French authorities. Community leaders met the Parisian police chief on Saturday.

Friday’s attack came almost 10 years after the murder of three Kurdish women activists in the French capital – an unresolved crime.

The community was again “afraid”, having been “traumatized” by January 2013 murders, said a lawyer for the Kurdish democratic council in France (CDK-F).

In Friday’s attack a gunman has opened fire in central Paris, killing three people and wounding three others.

The attacker targeted a Kurdish cultural centre and shot members of the local community. A possible racist motive is being investigated.

A suspect, aged 69, was quickly arrested and it soon emerged he had been freed from prison recently.

Clashes later broke out between police and a group who had gathered at the scene in the aftermath of the attack.

Footage showed people starting fires in the middle of the street and smashing car windows, with officers in riot gear responding by throwing tear gas. (Int’l News Desk)

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