Tuesday 11 May 2021

Several hundred Kurds stage protest inside Dutch parliament

A large group of Kurds forced their way into the Dutch parliament building on Monday evening to protest at the way the northern Syrian village of Kobani is under siege from Islamic State militants.

According to RTL news, up to 1,000 Kurds may have entered the building, which has now been sealed off by riot police to prevent further protesters getting inside.

Nos television put the figure at several hundred and said a further 200 or so have gathered outside.

By midnight there had been no arrests but ‘that is going to happen’ one police officer told RTL. The demonstrators say they will not leave until Kobani has been liberated. Talks were under way at midnight with The Hague mayor Jozias van Aartsen in an effort to end the stand-off.

Military 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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