December 17 has been named the Kurdish flag day by the Kurdistan Region parliament. Photo: Rudaw
DUSSELDORF, Germany—Thousands of Kurds and political party representatives marked the Kurdish flag day in various European countries on Saturday to renew solidarity for Peshmerga and urge support for Kurdistan’s independence.
In Germany—home to the largest number of Kurds in Europe—people marked the day in the cities of Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich.
“Our purpose on this day is defending the Peshmerga, democratic values, standing against ISIS and asking Germany for support for Kurdish independence,” Ali Nerwayi, an organizer of the flag day gatherings in Germany told Rudaw.
Nerwayi said that the gatherings had been organized in coordination with political and activist groups.
December 17 has been named the Kurdish flag day by the Kurdistan Region parliament in Erbil.
Kurds in the United Kingdom plan to mark day with a small gathering before the office of the British prime minister, chanting pro-Peshmerga slogans.
“We organize this gathering for Kurds in Britain and chants and slogans will only be for Kurds and Kurdistan,” Khasraw Azhgayi, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official in London told Rudaw.
In Belgium the police did not allow the gathering on the pretext of preventing confrontations between Turks and supporters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), said Mariwan Rawandzi, a member of the committee of Kurdish parties in Belgium.
“The security forces told us they would not allow us organize this gathering,” said Rawandzi.
Kurds in the Netherlands are planning to mark the day with a larger gathering that would involve music and dance.
The event is titled Carnival of Kurdistan Flag.
Ali Hiruri, a spokesperson for the Kurdish parties committee in the Netherlands said that the Change Movement (Gorran) and the PKK will not be attending the gatherings and events, otherwise all parties from four parts of Kurdistan do.
Hiruri added: “Our main goal in this is to show support for Peshmerga and Kurdistan’s independence, but also a way to get together all the Kurds in preparation for Netherlands’ elections next year,”
Rawaz Halkawt, a Gorran public relations official in Europe told Rudaw that his party did not attend any flag day events “because we want this to be marked organically by people,”
He said the event should not be politicized “and we have given the liberty to our members to attend or not attend the events,”