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Pro-Kurdish demonstration in Germany

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Pro-Kurdish demonstration in Germany

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Several thousand pro-Kurdish demonstrators took to the streets of Cologne in Germany on Saturday to protest against the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria, and demand that the German government refrain from arms deals with Turkey.

The German government came under fire for selling military equipment to NATO ally Turkey, after it became known Turkey was using German-built Leopard tanks in its drive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Turkey had been pushing for upgrades to those tanks to protect against mines, but German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday any decisions on "critical projects" would have to wait until his Social Democrats come to a coalition agreement with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Union bloc.

Saturday's demonstration was organised by the Kurdish umbrella organisation "Nav-Dem", which Germany's domestic intelligence service considers close to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK.

Cologne police, which initially said about 7,000 protesters took to the streets with over 20,000 expected throughout the day, mobilised 2,000 police officers to prevent potential clashes between Kurdish protesters and nationalist Turks.