Paris shooting: Fresh skirmishes as rally takes place for Kurdish victims of 'racist' attack

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Clashes erupt with police following a demonstration of supporters and members of the Kurdish community, Place de la Republique, Paris, Saturday 24 December 2022
Clashes erupt with police following a demonstration of supporters and members of the Kurdish community, Place de la Republique, Paris, Saturday 24 December 2022   -   Copyright  AFP

Skirmishes broke out between demonstrators and the police on the sidelines of a rally organised on Saturday in Paris to pay tribute to the three Kurds killed by a gunman in the French capital the previous day. 

At least four cars were overturned, including at least one set on fire, and garbage cans burned on Boulevard du Temple, near Place de la République. The security forces, targeted by projectile jets, responded by firing tear gas canisters. 

Several hundred people gathered at midday to pay tribute to the three Kurds killed and three others wounded the day before by a 69-year-old man shot near a Kurdish cultural centre.

In the crowd, many demonstrators were waving flags of the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK, or holding pictures of three Kurdish activists murdered in January 2013 in Paris.  

"What we feel is sorrow and incomprehension because this is not the first time this has happened," said Esra, a 23-year-old student who did not want to give her family name, her eyes reddened by tears.

A minute's silence was observed, with music, in memory of the victims and "all the Kurds who died for freedom".

Several demonstrators present on Saturday denounced the shooting rampage as an "injustice" and a "terrorist" and "political" act.

The 69-year-old French suspect, who had committed armed violence in the past, said during his arrest that he acted because he was "racist".

Earlier in the morning, representatives of the Kurdish community had been received by the Paris police prefect, Laurent Nunez.

"There is no doubt in our minds that these are political murders. The fact that our associations are targeted is a terrorist and political act", said Agit Polat, spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDKF), after the meeting.

He also regretted a "lack of security" at the scene of the shooting, whose security is "the responsibility of the French authorities".

The suspect, whose custody was extended on Saturday, is suspected of having opened fire on Friday in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, killing three people and wounding three others at a Kurdish cultural centre in a busy shopping area popular with the Kurdish community.