06:50 GMT20 April 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - French police on Monday deployed tear gas to disperse Kurdish activists who broke into the territory of the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg, the Dernieres Nouvelles d'Alsace newspaper reported.

    According to the media outlet, dozens of protesters came from neighbouring Germany, demanding the release of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) founder, Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence in Turkey. PKK supporters threw bottles at law enforcement officers and shouted slogans in Kurdish.

    It took the police about 40 minutes to restore order in the area. The Council of Europe building remains closed due to the Easter holidays.

    Videos showing police detaining the activists emerged online.

    ​Daniel Holtgen, Director of Communications and Spokesperson for the Secretary-General at the Council of Europe, took to Twitter to thank the police for their work.

    ​The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey and has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. It was founded by Ocalan in 1978. In 1984, the party openly launched an armed struggle against the Turkish authorities. By 1998, the PKK battle groups were defeated, and Ocalan was arrested and sentenced to death. His death sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment.

    In March 2013, Ocalan issued a statement in which he called for a ceasefire and urged the fighters of his organization to withdraw from Turkey. In the spring of 2013, PKK military units were withdrawn to neighbouring Iraqi Kurdistan — after the regional government gave its consent — and regrouped in the Qandil mountains near the Iraq-Turkish border. The truce, however, collapsed two years later.

    police, activists, Strasbourg, Kurds, France
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