Tuesday 19 October 2021

Foreign affairs specialists to meet protesting Kurds in parliament

MPs who specialise in foreign affairs have agreed to meet a delegation of Kurds who forced their way into the Dutch parliamentary building on Monday night demanding action against Islamic State militants besieging the northern Syrian town of Kobani.

Several hundred Kurds entered the complex but did not go past the security barriers and were not near to the parliamentary offices.

Nevertheless, PVV leader Geert Wilders has described security at the building as ‘as leaky as a sieve’ and described the temporary occupation as ‘unacceptable’.

Other MPs were less concerned. Parliament should not become a bunker, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold is quoted as saying by the Volkskrant. Extra police are currently on duty outside parliament but there are demonstrators present, news agency ANP said.

Mission

No sittings were taking place at the time the group entered the building. Earlier, MPs had called on the cabinet to clarify its position on Kobani. The Dutch are involved in the military mission to counter IS in Iraq but not Syria, saying there is no international mandate to take action there.

Many of the demonstrators have friends and family in Kobani, one woman told television talk show Pauw in a telephone interview. ‘We want the Dutch parliament to hear a voice,’ she said.

‘The IS is engaged in heavy fighting in Kobani. Why are Dutch F-16s not being used there?’ another asked radio programme Met het Oog op Morgen.

Similar protests are taking place in many other countries, including Vienna, Berne and at the airports of Brussels, Copenhagen and Stockholm, Dutch media reported.

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