Thousands of Kurds protest against Turkey's Erdogan in Frankfurt

Thousands of Kurds protest against Turkey's Erdogan in Frankfurt
People carry a flags with the picture of imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan during a demonstration organised by Kurds, in Frankfurt, Germany, March 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
2 months ago

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FRANKFURT - Around 9,000 Kurdish supporters demonstrated in the German city of Frankfurt on Saturday (March 18) against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and an April referendum that would give him sweeping new powers.

Protesters chanted "Erdogan terrorist" and "freedom for Ocalan", referring to Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with many people waving flags featuring Ocalan's face. The European Union and United States consider the PKK a terrorist group and it is banned in Germany.

"We want to raise our voice against Erdogan and his referendum in April. We are strictly against it," protester Berivan Bozcali told Reuters.

"We don't need any Erdogan, we don't need him. His people are going to say 'yes and we need a 'no,no,no'. I am against Erdogan. That's it. He is a dictator," said another demonstrator who didn't want to give his name.

Several hundred police officers were deployed at the demonstration, which police said was peaceful.

On Wednesday the German government approved voting by the estimated 1.4 million Turks living in Germany who are eligible to cast ballots in the April 16 referendum.

Erdogan is seeking support among Turks abroad for the referendum. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said Erdogan is taking advantage of a sentiment many people of Turkish origin have in Germany that they are neither accepted nor welcomed.

Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been burdened by the arrest of a Turkish-German journalist in Turkey and by Erdogan's description of bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers as "fascist".