Paris police use tear gas on protesters denouncing the killings of the Kurdish center | Paris
Protesters clashed with police as they called for justice for the killing of three people in a Kurdish neighborhood in Paris.
Several hundred representatives of France’s Kurdish community gathered in Place de la Republique on Saturday to demand answers about the killings they say have scared the community.
Footage showed some of the protesters holding flags and others throwing objects at police, who used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The people were killed on Friday when a gunman opened fire on a Kurdish cultural center, the Ahmet-Kaya center, rue d’Enghien in the 10th arrondissement. Shots were also fired at a hairdresser and a restaurant across the street. Three people were injured, one seriously.
Police have arrested a 69-year-old man who authorities say was recently released from custody pending trial for a saber attack on a refugee camp in Paris a year ago.
The Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F) has launched a call on its website and social networks for people to gather from noon on Place de la République, a traditional place for demonstrations in the capital.
Hours earlier, there had been clashes between police and people who had gathered at the scene of the attack.
Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said the investigation would focus on possible racist motives, but Kurdish officials said the incident should be considered a terrorist attack.
Prosecutors said the suspect’s detention was extended for 24 hours and the scope of the investigation – for murder and attempted murder – was formally expanded to include the possible motive of racism.
“Adding this element [to the potential charges] however, does not affect the maximum penalty for the alleged crimes, which remains life imprisonment,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Berivan Firat, CDK-F spokesman, told French news channel BFM TV: “We know that we are under threat, Kurds in general, Kurdish militants and activists. France owes us protection.
David Andic, a lawyer representing the CDK-F, said Friday’s killings left the Kurdish community in fear as it prepared to mark the 10th anniversary of the murder of three Kurdish women in Paris in January 2013.
“The Kurdish community is scared,” Andic said. “He was already traumatized by the triple murder [in 2013]. He needs answers, support and consideration.
The Paris police chief was due to meet with members of the Kurdish community ahead of Saturday’s protest.