Called at short notice and spread over social media, yesterday afternoon’s Westminster protest attracted thousands of Kurdish people from all over London, filling the square with home-made placards and a variety of flags.
Their largest banner simply stated ‘Turkey – Stop Supporting ISIS”, and speakers told of how Turkey is refusing to allow women and child refugees over its border, and is even preventing Kurdish volunteers from leaving the country to help defend Kobane, while doing little to stem the flow of fighters and arms to ISIS, and even buying black market oil from the Islamic State.
While the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) is effectively fighting on the same side as the West against the “terrorists” of ISIS, it is still officially a ‘proscribed’ organisation itself, and Kurds have plenty of evidence that Turkey is effectively supporting ISIS to carry out its genocidal mission in Kobane while giving lip service to the West’s apparent desire to confront the Jihadists.
Among their demands of the UK government is a call for Cameron to throw out the Turkish ambassador after Turkish PM Erdogan commented recently that PKK and ISIS were “the same”.
After about an hour in the square, the Kurds decided to go marching, and negotiated a route around the West End with police before setting off up Whitehall.
However, as the front of the march passed Downing Street, there was news of scuffles and arrests in the Square as police bungled a stop-and-search, tried to arrest a Kurd for resisting, and ended up in fist-fights with a small crowd of enraged supporters who had watched what was going on.
As a result, the march sat down, demanding the release of their comrades, and bringing the area to a complete halt.
A Police Liaison Officer (PLOs – now known to be intelligence gatherers), tried to negotiate with the men at the front of the crowd, before reporting back to the Chief Inspector and then working with police photographers trying to identify and document ‘ringleaders’.
After more than 30 minutes, it appears that police released one man to appease the crowd, but two were later confirmed as detained on suspicion of assaulting police.
With a lot of stopping and starting, the huge march then continued up Whitehall, but abandoned plans for a long West End walkabout and instead doubled back along the Embankment to return to Parliament Square, where, as the sun began to set, they peacefully dispersed, and the 20 or so police riot vans drove off too.