“The Communist League demands Turkish hands off Afrin! We start from the common class interests and solidarity of workers and farmers across the Middle East, and the rest of the world,” said Catharina Tirsén, (with microphone), a member of the Communist League. Tirsén was addressing a Jan. 24 rally of 200 Kurds and others in Manchester, England. The action was one of dozens called around the world to protest the Turkish government’s bombing and invasion of the Kurdish area of Afrin in northern Syria.
“It is among working people who are hit by the wars and carnage of capitalist rule that Kurds will find allies. U.S., U.K. and all other foreign troops out of the Middle East!” she said.
A further 2,000 people demonstrated Jan. 27 in London against Ankara’s bombardment. Thousands rallied in Paris the same day.
There have been dozens of large popular mobilizations across Afrin province itself, showing the breadth of support for the Kurdish-led government there by working people. In areas controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, there have been protests in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. Since the attacks began Jan. 19, Kurds and their supporters in Beirut, Lebanon, have organized a number of actions.
In Cologne, Germany, 2,000 cops, backed up by water cannons, broke up a demonstration of 20,000 Kurds and their supporters Jan. 27. As part of the protest against Ankara’s assault on Afrin, some demonstrators unfurled flags depicting Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The German Interior Ministry has banned displaying pictures of Ocalan. The PKK is a party in Turkey with Stalinist roots that has fought a guerrilla war against Ankara for most of three decades.
Demonstrations in Canada have been held in Ottawa, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. Actions in the U.S. took place Jan. 26 in Washington, D.C., and Nashville, Tennessee. A further protest will be held in New York, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m. in Union Square, organized by the American Kurdish Association.