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Thousands attend funeral of 3 Kurds killed in Paris shooting

05-01-2023

PARIS: With tears and cries of “Martyrs live forever”, thousands of Kurds from across Europe have come to the suburbs of Paris to say farewell to three of their own killed in a December attack in the French capital.

Buses were chartered to bring people from across France and some neighboring countries to the politically charged funeral in Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris.

The coffins of the three people, one woman and two men were wrapped in the flags of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish-controlled Rojava territory in northern Syria.

The crowd followed the funeral on giant screens erected in a car park, showing the coffins surrounded by wreaths beneath a portrait of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence on a prison island off Istanbul.

Police and security volunteers were on duty outside a hall hired for Tuesday’s funeral.

A xenophobic gunman is suspected of killing the three Kurds on December 23. The victims were shot inside and in front of the Ahmet-Kaya centre, a cultural organisation for the Kurdish community in Paris’s 10th district.

The three victims were identified as Abdurrahman Kizil; singer and political refugee Mir Perwer; and Emine Kara, a leader in the Movement of Kurdish Women in France.

William Malet, 69, was formally charged in the shootings on December 26. He told investigators he had a “pathological” hatred for foreigners and wanted to “murder migrants”, prosecutors said.

Malet, a retired train driver, had previous convictions for assault and possession of an illegal weapon. He had just left a year of detention for a sword attack at a migrant camp but many Kurds in France’s 150,000-strong community refuse to believe that he acted alone, calling his actions a “terrorist” attack and pointing the finger at Turkey.

“The anger of the people gathered today has again proven to us how much the Kurdish community believes these murders are political,” said a spokesman for the Democratic Council of Kurds in France.

In January 2013, three Kurdish female activists including Sakine Cansız, a co-founder of the PKK were shot dead near the cultural centre. (Int’l News Desk)

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