Mosques in Germany attacked as pro-Kurdish protests held across Europe

Mosques in Germany attacked as pro-Kurdish protests held across Europe
Kurdish protesters have clashed with police at German airport and disrupted UK stations, while two Turkish mosques in Germany were attacked over the weekend.
3 min read
11 March, 2018
Protests against Turkey's Afrin offensive have been held across Europe (Getty)

Pro-Kurdish demonstrators staged protests against Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria on Sunday, scuffling with Turks and German police at Duesseldorf airport, while in Britain they temporarily closed two train stations, authorities said.

The protests followed attacks on two Turkish mosques in Germany. Videos of the arson attacks were posted by media outlets supportive of Kurdish forces. 

Several people in Germany were left injured after police used pepper spray against some demonstrators opposed to Turkey's ongoing military operation "Olive Branch" against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria's Afrin region.

The unannounced rally of about 150 people - one of several Kurdish demonstrations in Germany at the weekend - turned rowdy and led to "a number of people suffering injuries", federal police told AFP

Images on social media showed the protesters holding a banner that read "Afrin is becoming our Vietnam - We will defeat fascism".

Meanwhile a Turkish mosque in Berlin was targeted with what appeared to be molotov coctails on Saturday.

Bayram Türk, the religious official of the mosque, told Anadolu Agency that the mosque's entrance and the tea shop was on fire when he arrived to the scene, and firefighters were intervening.

Türk said that two people stated that they saw three assailants wearing masks throwing inflammable material to the mosque and running away from the scene.

This followed an attack on a mosque in the town of Lauffen in southwestern Germany on Friday.  A webpage affiliated with the PKK and its Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has posted a video footage of an attack.

The arson at the mosque caused material damage before the imam managed to extinguish the blaze. There were no casualties.

There were also pro-Kurdish protests held in Stockholm, as well as the train station in the Swedish capital where demonstrators were pictured with PKK flags.  The protests were reportedly subdued by police. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to "purge" Kurdish militia from the town of Afrin as his forces and allied Syrian rebels advanced to within a few kilometres.

In Britain on Sunday flag-waving pro-Kurdish protesters forced the closure of Manchester Piccadilly train station and King's Cross station in London.

In the capital British police massed at the station entrance to prevent the crowd marching on to the concourse or platforms, causing service interruptions.

Meanwhile in Manchester scores of demonstrators made it onto the tracks, closing the station for several hours which led to trains being halted and impacting travellers across the country.

Superintendent Mark Cleland of the British Transport Police said: "Those involved in this afternoon's incident will be subject to intense investigation with a view to arrest and prosecution".