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Rudaw

World

Kurds in France join Paris unity rally

By Rudaw 11/1/2015
French media said that some 700,000 people attended the Paris march. AFP photo.
French media said that some 700,000 people attended the Paris march. AFP photo.

PARIS, France – Kurdish officials stood with European and other world leaders in Paris on Sunday, where some 700,000 people gathered to honor the victims of terrorist attacks that killed 17 people and plunged France into a state of shock.

“The terrorist attacks in France are proving once more that terrorists are aiming at the free world, freedom of expression, pluralism and the democratic values,” said Khaman Zirar Asaad, the Kurdistan Regional Government representative in France, who attended the march with the head of the KRG’s foreign relations department, Falah Mustafa.

“It is for the defence of these same values that the Kurdish forces on the ground are battling the jihadists and their obscurantist ideas,” she told Rudaw. “The fight of the Kurds is obviously the one of the free world,” she added, noting that Kurds from around France were taking part in the “unity rally.”

The Paris march gathered leaders from around the world, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also were present.

France has been on high alert since the first attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, and some 2,300 police officers, paramilitary forces and special units were on hand to protect the foreign dignitaries.

French President Francois Hollande said in a statement before the demonstration: "Paris is today the capital of the world. Our entire country will rise up and show its best side." Overnight, an illuminated sign on the Arc de Triomphe read: "Paris est Charlie" ("Paris is Charlie").

The website of the KRG in France had also picked up the motto, a phrase that has been repeatedly used in solidarity against the killing of 12 people at the offices of the magazine, which had published cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

The magazine killings, perpetrated by brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who were French citizens of Algerian origin, were followed by a hostage taking attack against a Jewish kosher market on Friday which left four people dead.

Friday’s assailant, Amedy Coulibaly, is believed to have killed a policewoman the day before. All the assailants died in gunbattles with security forces.

A video of Coulibaly has surfaced on the Internet, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), which since last summer has taken control of swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey acknowledged Sunday that Hayat Boumeddiene, wanted in connection with the Paris terror attacks and the partner of Coulibaly, travelled to Syria through Turkey.

French media and police have announced that Boumeddiene, 26, had left France on January 2 and entered Syria from Turkey six days later, a fact that Turkey acknowledged on Sunday.

Shortly after the attack on the magazine, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani said that the Kurdish people stood with France on “this sad day.” 

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GodBlessAmerica | 11/1/2015
Amazing photograph! I love how united the great country of France has become! Kurdistan will be just like that someday soon thanks to all the brave Kurds fighting for their independence. Go France!! Go Kurds!!
Aso Azadi | 11/1/2015
Vive La France! Vive La Kurdistan! Vive la Liberte!
Azad H. - USA | 11/1/2015
Kurds and Kurdistan should of represented by our highest office President Massoud Barzani. Kak Massoud is the head of Kurdistan and nothing less would accepted. His attendance would of been a great opportunity to rally better face to face meeting support from the first class international free world leaders. After all Kurds are the only force that is fighting the fight , head to head with ISIS with appreciated support from the International Community. KRG this is a big and important " FOUL" ... Beside KRG, where are the Kurds public to show support for those who ran to our support when ISIS attacked Kurdistan. Where are the Kurds journalist ? No support..! Where are the Kobani fighters who I think a group of the female fighters should travel to France in their dirty fighting uniform to show support and vow to kill more ISIS as an answer to the attack on Freedom ... Kurds, where is public relationship skill. How could we demand others respect when we don't give it. Wake up Kurds, wake up Kurdistan ... You could do much better.
Muraz Adzhoev | 11/1/2015
"Kurdish officials stood with European and other world leaders" - sounds with the deepest sense of great pleasure, but unfortunately can not be said so, because there is not a sovereign state of Kurdistan, at least Southern Kurdistan yet in this world. The Kurds could have had an official leader to stay with European and other world leaders in Paris. However that day is coming closer and closer.
Francis.GR | 11/1/2015
I hope Kurdistan will soon emerge as an independant and democratic nation, respectful of ethnicities and individual freedoms, and united all the while. The more united the stronger. Rojava and South Kurdistan in a same nation.

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