MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – Kurds have staged a hunger strike near Downing Street in London in a bid to make the British government provide them with heavy ammunition to fight against Islamic State (IS) militants, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
"We are demanding heavy weapons and antitank missiles from the UK government and other European governments, not just the UK. We are just here and we will continue our hunger strike until we take it," a Kurdish protester in London was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
The protesters intend to use the arms they are asking for in the town of Kobani, northern Syria, which has been besieged by IS militants. They claim another massacre by the jihadist group looms large if their appeal is rejected.
Among the London protesters are supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who claim that the United States and other European countries have ignored their request for arms. PKK is listed as a terrorist organization in many Western countries, the United Kingdom being one of them.
Protests have also been organized in other countries. According to Basnews, the Kurdish diaspora took to streets in France this week asking the French government to protect Kurds in Kobani.
In the march held in San Diego, the United States, the Kurdish community appealed to the international community to similarly aid Kurds trying to escape the IS violence.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories over which it had control.
This August, following an earlier warning of death if not converted to Islam, IS militants killed at least 500 members of the Kurdish minority of Yazidis, a part of the Kurdish ethnic minority living mainly in Iraq and Turkey, as well as in Iran, Syria and the South Caucasus. According to media records, IS militants buried some of their victims alive, including women and children. Nearly 300 women were also reported to have been kidnapped and enslaved.
According to estimates by Russia's Security Council, the number of IS militants may be as high as 50,000, and it continues to grow as supporters of radical Islam from Europe, the United States and the CIS leave their countries to join the group.