Clashes between Kurdish protesters and the police at the site of the Paris attack
On Friday afternoon, December 23, French police used tear gas to disperse Kurdish protesters who had gathered near a Kurdish cultural center in central Paris after a gunman killed three people in front of it, Agence France-Presse reported.
Clashes began when the crowd tried to break through a security cordon that police had set up around Interior Minister Gerald Darmanan, who went to the scene of the attack to see the latest developments in the investigation and speak to reporters.
The security forces fired tear gas at the protesters, who in turn pelted them with missiles, set garbage containers on fire and set up roadblocks. The windows of several cars parked in the area were broken, as were police cars.
Some protesters chanted slogans of support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish organization classified as “terrorist” by Turkey, the European Union and other countries.
Many protesters earlier tried to bypass the security cordon to reach the cultural center, named after the late singer Ahmed Kay, and used by a charity that organizes concerts and exhibitions and helps the Kurdish diaspora in the Paris region. .
Darmanan told reporters that the 69-year-old gunman, a retired train driver, was “clearly targeting foreigners”, adding that he was “not sure” whether he tried to kill “Kurds in particular” or not. “We still don’t know his exact motives,” the minister added.
Asked if some of the victims of Friday’s shooting were linked to the PKK, Darmanin said the victims were apparently unknown to French security services.
The minister confirmed that there is currently no information about the suspect’s connection with extreme right-wing activists, and said that the man is a member of a shooting sports club, “and has several registered weapons.”
The minister explained that he ordered the tightening of security measures in Kurdish gathering places in France, as well as in the vicinity of the Turkish diplomatic headquarters. He pointed out that the concerned officials will meet to assess the possibility of other threats to the Kurdish community in Paris or anywhere else in France.
The attacker is known
Paris prosecutor Laura Picchu confirmed that the suspected attacker, who was arrested by the police, was known to the authorities, adding that the authorities would investigate any possible racist motives behind the attack.
Picchu said the suspect is a 69-year-old man who was charged last year with a crime of racial violence when he stabbed at least two migrants in a camp in the French capital in an attack on December 8, 2021.
French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the “shameful attack” which “targeted the Kurds in France”. He added in a tweet: “All condolences go out to the victims, the people struggling to survive, their families and loved ones. A big thank you to our police force for their courage and composure.”
The shooting happened before noon on Friday, December 23, on Dangan Street in the 10th district in the center of the capital, near the Kurdish cultural center in a commercial and lively area, particularly frequented by members of the Kurdish community.
“The shooting happened at a Kurdish community center on Dangan Street, as well as a restaurant facing the Kurdish center and a hair salon,” Tenth District Mayor Alexandra Cordberd said.
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David Indyk, a lawyer for the Kurdish Community Center, told Reuters that three of the dead were members of the Kurdish community in the area.
The National Prosecutor’s Office announced that the French authorities consider the incident over.
The State Prosecutor’s Office announced that “an investigation has been opened for the criminal acts of assassination, premeditated murder and serious violence”, and “the investigations are currently entrusted to the Second Department of the Judicial Police”. She added that “a man between the ages of 60 and 70 was arrested”, and his identity is being determined.
A police source said the suspect in the shooting is a “white Frenchman” who is “about sixty years old” and has a history of two attempted murders. He added that the man was “arrested with a weapon… his motives are currently unknown.”
BFM TV reported that the arrested man was known to French authorities and had attacked a migrant camp a year ago.
A correspondent of the French news agency stated that at the intersection of the streets of Agave and Doutauville, stretchers were quietly brought to the place where the police set up a security cordon.
Paris police said they were dealing with the incident on Avenue d’Annegan and urged citizens to stay away from the area.
“An armed attack has taken place. Thank you to the security forces for their quick action… Our hearts go out to the victims and those who witnessed this tragedy,” Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire wrote on Twitter.
“Seven or eight shots were fired in the street, it’s scary, we were locked inside,” a woman from a shop in a nearby building, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the “terrible” attack, and said in a tweet on “Twitter” that “a terrible act shook Paris and France today. Our condolences to the victims and their families.”