Five Hurt as Kurds and Turks Clash in Germany

BERLIN (AFP) — Five people were injured in clashes between Kurdish and Turkish communities in the western German city of Herne, police said Monday, as Kurds demonstrated against Ankara’s invasion of northeastern Syria.

Around 350 people were marching through the city center late on Monday when they were “provoked with hand signals” by people drinking at a nearby kiosk, police said.

“Some of them stormed into the kiosk, attacked two people inside and injured them” and broke a window, police said in a statement.

Although the demonstration continued, someone threw a bottle at the marchers from a Turkish-owned café as they passed.

“The reaction was very emotional and angry” as several participants rushed back into the café, breaking windows and furniture and injuring at least one person inside and one of the police officers who intervened to stop the fighting.

Nevertheless, “the police were able to calm the situation” and the demonstration ended as planned when the marchers reached their destination in the center, officials said.

Among the five people hurt was the organizer of the march, who was attacked when he tried to stop the violence.

Of the roughly 3 million people with Turkish nationality or roots living in Germany, around 1 million are Kurds.

Politicians regularly warn of tensions between the two communities, which have been stoked by Turkey’s week-old invasion of Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria.

Beginning last Wednesday, Turkish troops invaded the zone controlled by Kurdish militias who had helped a Western-led coalition fight Islamic State jihadists.

Berlin, France, other European allies and even China have condemned the Turkish invasion, which has forced the Kurds to turn to Syrian strongman Bashar al Assad for protection, after President Donald Trump suddenly abandoned the Kurds one week ago.

© Agence France-Presse

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