In Paris, police and protesters clashed for two days after a man opened fire on a Kurdish cultural center on December 23, killing three people. His 69-year-old shooter suspect, who was taken into custody with injuries, has since been released from custody on health grounds.
The Paris public prosecutor’s office said in an update on December 24 that the suspect had been transferred to a police psychiatric facility. Interrogation of the suspect was halted for health reasons prior to his transfer. According to the latest information, if the man is in good health, he will be handed over to a magistrate who will investigate.
The office said the man faces possible murder and attempted murder due to the racist motives of the Dec. 23 shooting.
The man was recently released from custody while awaiting trial for saber attacks on migrants living in tents in Paris in 2021, police previously said.
Shortly before noon on December 23, the suspect opened multiple shots at a Kurdish cultural center and a nearby cafe and hair salon in the busy 10th arrondissement of Paris, said the area’s mayor, Alexandra Cordevar. The area has several shops and restaurants and is home to many Kurds.
Three Kurds were killed in the December 23 shooting. Among them were a prominent feminist activist and a singer who had arrived in France as a refugee.
protest turns into violence
Thousands of people gathered on Place de la Republique (Plaza de la Republique) in eastern Paris on December 24th. This place is the capital of France, which traditionally hosts various demonstrations. The rally was organized by the French Kurdistan Democratic Council (CDK-F).
The rally was initially peaceful with hundreds of Kurdish protesters in attendance and politicians, including Cordevado, waving various flags and listening to tributes to the victims.
“We are totally unprotected. In the last decade, six Kurdish activists have been murdered in broad daylight in the heart of Paris,” CDK-F spokesman Berivan Firat said at the demonstration. told news channel BFM TV.
She was referring to how three female Kurdish activists were found shot dead at a Kurdish center in Paris in January 2013. One of them was Sakine Cansiz, founder of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).
Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said the December 24 demonstrations suddenly turned into riots, though it is not yet clear what sparked the riots. protesters said they were responsible for the day’s violence, which led to the arrest of at least 11 people.
Firat said the rally took a turn for the worse after some protesters provoked people in passing cars with pro-Turkish gestures, including waving Turkish flags.
Turkish forces have long fought Kurdish militants affiliated with the banned PKK in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq. Turkish forces have also recently launched a series of airstrikes and artillery strikes against Syrian Kurdish militant targets in northern Syria.
Some people reportedly threw various projectiles and set several trash cans and cars on fire. Some cars overturned. Broken shop windows. Multiple fires were seen near the square.
Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. The protesters dispersed after about two hours.
Demonstrations also took place on the afternoon of December 23, shortly after the shooting.
Reuters and Associated Press contributed to this report.