Hundreds of pro-Kurdish protesters took to the streets in London on Saturday to support the Kurdish resistance in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.
The Syrian town, which falls on the northern border of Syria and Turkey, has been under siege for over three weeks by Islamic State fighters, with the local residents leading the defence against Islamic State militants.
Protesters chanted “Unite, unite against ISIS” and held banners saying “Your silence is supporting ISIS in Kurdistan”, “Support Kobani, support democracy”, and “Stop Turkey’s smear campaign”.
Protesters holding banners condemning the world’s silence on the Islamic State’s attack on Kobani (photo: TNN)
Yesterday’s demonstration comes after a series of protests held by London’s Kurdish community over the past week protesting against the UK’s lack of support for the Kurdish resistance in Kobani and to show solidarity with the residents of the embattled city.
On Wednesday, Kurdish protesters shut down Westminster Bridge in central London while other protests ,earlier this week, temporarily shut down Oxford Circus and Angel tube stations, two of the busiest undergrounds in London.
“We’re protesting against the international community’s silence towards Islamic State in Kobani,” Malike Ozyurt, a Kurdish protester told TNN.
Police cordoning off the area where the protest was being held (photo: TNN)
The protest started at 2pm in front of Parliament Square amid minor police presence. However, more police were called in after tension escalated following the arrest of some protesters. Police then partially closed off the square.
A policewoman confirmed to TNN that some protesters were arrested.
“We want the international community to supply the Kurdish fighters in Kobani with weaponry as they’re now running out of everything,” one protester told TNN. “It has been 26 days now since the city was besieged by Islamic State fighters who’re now half way into the city,” he added.
In leaflets distributed during the protest, pro-Kurdish demonstrators urged the UK government to provide Kurdish forces with advanced weaponry that can match that of Islamic State fighters.
Part of Saturday’s anti-ISIS protest (photo: TNN)
They also called on NATO to reconsider Turkey’s membership, given the overwhelming evidence of “Turkey’s continued support for ISIS terror”, the leaflet said.
UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura on Tuesday urged the international community to protect the residents of Kobani from Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL. “The world should do whatever it takes to prevent ISIS fighters from taking control of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani,” De Mistura said.