Activists call upon people in Manchester to show support for Kurds under siege from Turkey
- Demonstrators raised concerns over Turkish invasion of Rojava
- Group gathered in Piccadilly Gardens before moving to St Peter’s Square
- Further demonstrations planned across the UK
A large group of Kurdish activists demonstrated against the ongoing violence in Syria, condemning the Turkish government over its decision to invade Rojava.
Meeting at Piccadilly Gardens for a second instalment of protests, the Kurdish community called for action to be taken to end Turkey’s military assault, asking for economic sanctions with banners pointing toward EU intervention.
The Kurds were one of Britain’s biggest allies in the fight against ISIS during the civil war in Syria.
A female speaker at the demonstration voiced her feelings on the invasion: “The people of Rojava gave their lives against the rise of fascism. There are 11,000 people who died in the fight to defeat ISIS in Syria/Kurdistan and we owe them a huge debt.
“Tonight the people of Manchester have called a demonstration at 6pm in St Peter’s Square to stand in solidarity with the people of Rojava, who since last week have been under invasion by the Turkish state.”
Three days after Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria’s north-east region, known as Rojava, Turkey unleashed an assault on the Kurdish territory.
Ozgur Soylu, a member of the Kurdish community, said: “Today we are here demonstrating against the recent Turkish invasion, which was a result of Trumps stupidity.
“Trump withdrawing his forces was a greenlight for Erdogan to destroy the Kurds.
“After the Syrian civil war, Rojava became the only secular area within the region. There was a democratic society built on people’s rights, especially the women’s movement, the YPJ, which was a critical part of the society.
“The Sykes-Picot agreement (1916) between the English and French is result of years of massacres against the Kurds. They have a major hand in what happens in the Middle East.
“British politics should have some say on this, without a doubt. This could be condemnation of the Turkish state, economic sanctions to try and force their hand, and supporting Rojava with aid.
“Somewhere in range of 70,000 ISIS fighters family members and supporters were being held until last week.
“Some of the attacks on the infrastructure by the Turkish Government were on prisons that held ISIS fighters, and you might think ‘Oh yes they’re attacking prisons holding ISIS fighters’ – but their attacks weren’t to destroy and obliterate the prisons, they opened them up allowing the ISIS fighters to escape, and escape they have done.
“You would hope this is when the world turns around and says ‘hold on, Turkey are clearly allowing ISIS to resurrect’. This is what the world must do.
“If it’s not support for the Kurds, support your own society! We know what ISIS did here in Manchester, we know what they did all around the UK, and all around Europe.
“Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have condemned Turkey but it’s all too watered-down, the condemnation isn’t tough enough and neither are the sanctions.
“Germany, France, Sweden, Holland, more and more countries have stopped selling arms to Turkey, more and more countries should be doing it.
“(People) they look at this demonstration and they see Kurdish people, but we’re here demonstrating against a potential threat that existed and it will happen again. The people of Manchester need to realise this is a demonstration against ISIS, against terrorism, terrorism here not just in Kurdistan.
“Our families and friends are dying in Rojava, people’s families and friends died here in Manchester as a result of ISIS, and Turkey are supporting ISIS. People in Manchester need to understand this, it’s hard to portray that message in what we’re doing here, and it goes down to the media to also portray that message as we cannot do it alone.”
— Isaac (@JournoIsaac) October 17, 2019
Desperate for the safety of the Kurdish people, a banner read ‘NATO must stop Turkish forces from killing the Kurds in northern Syria’ .
Currently, Russian troops have occupied the area to implement a level of peace between Turkish and Kurdish forces.