Dozens of people blockaded train tracks at Manchester’s Piccadilly station today, shutting down the major city transport hub for most of the afternoon — followed by a blockade at Kings Cross in London.
Friends of Kurdistan Manchester (FKM) reported that Kurds, their friends and supporters were blockading the stations to raise pressure on the British government to show support for the Kurdish defence of Afrin, which is currently under siege from Turkish forces. The Manchester action lasted until just after 3pm when the campaigners were escorted offsite, while the Kings Cross occupation ran through peak commute times, from 5.30pm to 7pm. In a statement, FKM said:
The Kurdish community and its allies are marching in Manchester, and across the world, in solidarity with the defenders of Afrin and demanding international intervention. Turkey is the second largest army in Nato and its forces have committed numerous war crimes since crossing the border into Afrin.
The protests were part of a series of emergency demos against a siege being carried out in Afrin by Turkish troops under the direction of President Erdogan, who has been carrying out a hardline repression against Kurdish people on both sides of the border as part of a campaign to crush domestic dissent against his regime.
Reports suggest the situation in Afrin is growing increasingly desperate, with the head of the Kurdish Red Crescent recently appealing to NGOs and the UN saying: “Afrin city is already running short on food, water and medical supplies. People are resorting to a reliance on contaminated wells for water.”
Other protests today included:
- Liverpool: 12pm Tesco London Road L3 8JA
- Cambridge: 12pm Kings Parade
- London: Downing Street rally at 6pm