Thousands take to the streets following carnage in Ankara

Ankara BombsThousands of protesters took to the streets in Europe on Saturday to denounce the suspected double suicide attacks that killed at least 95 people during a peace rally in Ankara.

In Paris police estimate that around one thousand people, a majority of whom were Kurdish, came out on Saturday afternoon to the city’s Place de la Republique to condemn the attacks.

The demonstration was called for by the Kurdish Democratic Council in France, which said in a statement that it “strongly condemns this cowardly and disgusting attack”.

In Strasbourg in northeastern France, another 400 people demonstrated according to police, and several hundred came out in solidarity in the southern city of Marseille, with some holding signs reading “Murderer Erdogan”.

Organisers called for another demonstration to take place Sunday afternoon in Paris, to call for a “stop to the dirty war and state terror in Turkey and Kurdistan”.

Zurich saw one thousand people come out to the centre of the city in what police called a peaceful demonstration.

Some demonstrators in Zurich held signs reading “Stop state terror in Turkey”.

In Istanbul, an estimated 10,000 people marched down the city’s main central avenue to protest the attacks.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters there was “very strong signs” that the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers.

With the country shattered by the deadliest attack in the history of modern Turkey, Davutoglu declared three days of national mourning.

HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas blamed the government in blunt terms. He said the attack was part of the same campaign as the bombing of an HDP rally in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on the eve of June elections and a suicide bombing blamed on Islamic State in Suruc near the Syrian border in July, which killed 33 mostly young pro-Kurdish activists.

“The government’s right and chance to hum and haw has long expired. You are murderers. Your hand is bloody. Blood has splattered from your face, your mouth to your nails and all over you. You are the biggest supporters of terror,” he told reporters in comments broadcast on the internet.

The HDP argues that Erdogan seeks to undermine its support and increase backing for his AK Party in elections due on Nov. 1 by associating it with PKK violence and factional infighting, a link the party denies strongly.

Sources in Erdogan’s office said U.S. President Barack Obama called the president on Saturday evening to convey his condolences, condemn the attack and stress that Washington would continue to stand beside Turkey in its fight against terror.

Davutoglu accused Demirtas, whose party garnered support from largely left-leaning voters beyond its Kurdish base to enter parliament in June, of “open provocation”.

Some activists saw the hand of the state in all three attacks on Kurdish interests, accusing Erdogan and the AK Party he founded of seeking to stir up nationalist sentiment, a charge Turkey’s leaders have vehemently rejected.

 

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