Thousands of Kurds stage protest march in France

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Thousands of Kurds stage protest march in France
About 11,000 Kurds marched on Saturday n Strasbourg to demand as every year the release of their historic leader
Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned in Turkey. Photo: PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP
Thousands of Kurds marched through the French city of Strasbourg on Saturday to call for the release of jailed PKK founder Abdullah Ocalan and protest against Turkey’s military offensive in Syria.
“UN, take your responsibility and stop the genocide in Afrin,” read one banner, referring to the region in northern Syria where Turkey is waging a campaign against a Syrian Kurd militia.
The protesters who came from across Europe also waved Kurdish flags and pictures of the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), chanting “Freedom for Ocalan”.
There was a strong police presence at the demonstration, which police said attracted 11,000 people while organisers put the number at between 25,000-30,000.
The march has taken place each year in the city that hosts the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe since Ocalan was detained in 1999.
Ocalan, the figurehead of the PKK’s bloody insurgency against the Turkish state, remains behind bars on a prison island off Istanbul.
Ankara launched an offensive in the Afrin area of northern Syria last month against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which it considers a terror group but which is allied with US forces in the fight against the
Islamic State (Isis) group.
“(Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan is becoming very aggressive towards the Kurds and the situation is getting a lot worse, year after year, month after month,” said Newroz, who came from Germany to attend the rally
with his sister and friends.
“Erdogan is a 100 percent dictator, every European should know this,” added Okce, who also came from Germany.


Source :  The Local France

Fourcade makes French Olympic history in mad dash to the line

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Fourcade makes French Olympic history in mad dash to the line
France’s Martin Fourcade celebrates winning gold at the finish line in the men’s 15km mass start biathlon event on Sunday. PHOTO: FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Frenchman Martin Fourcade wrote himself into the history books with a second biathlon gold at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Sunday, snatching victory by a whisker in a dramatic photo finish.
Fourcade, 29, who won the pursuit title on Monday, thought he had lost the 15km mass start to Germany’s Simon Schempp after the two men battled towards the line in a lung-bursting sprint.
They sprawled across the finish and Fourcade slammed his ski stick into the snow and shook his head in frustration, clearly thinking he had lost.
But anguish switched to delight when the photo finish gave him the gold, clocking his time at 35min 47.3sec.
The German picked up the silver a split second behind while his compatriot Erik Lesser claimed the bronze 11.2sec adrift of Fourcade.
Fourcade won two golds at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and with his tally of four now holds the record for the most Winter Olympic gold medals won by a Frenchman. Alpine skier Jean-Claude Killy won three at the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble.
Source :  The Local France