Kurdish associations expect an apology after police violence against demonstration in The Hague

A demonstration in The Hague against the silence of international organisations on Turkey's war crimes in Kurdistan was met with a brutal police attack. Kurdish associations expect an apology.

As part of the #WeSeeYourCrimes week of action, more than a thousand people demonstrated yesterday in The Hague, Netherlands, the headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), under the slogan: "We see your crimes - Stop the use of chemical weapons in Kurdistan!" against the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish army against the guerrillas in the Kurdish areas in northern Iraq and the silence of international organisations on Turkey's war crimes. The demonstration was organized by various Kurdish exile organisations and associations.

Since 23 April 2021, Turkish fighter jets have bombed villages, towns and rural areas thousands of times, thousands of artillery shells have hit the area, extensive ground operations have taken place and forests have been deliberately set on fire. However, the main weapon the Turkish army relies on in its ongoing attacks is chemical weapons. According to the People's Defence Forces (HPG), Turkey has used banned chemical agents 2,470 times in the last six months, up from 367 times in 2021. Since April last year, at least 89 guerrilla fighters have been killed in these chemical weapons attacks.


The central demand of the demonstration in The Hague was an end to the war of aggression and the investigation of the use of chemical weapons by the competent international organisations such as the OPCW and corresponding sanctions against Turkey.

With pictures and banners, the demonstrators also commemorated the 17 guerrilla fighters who were recently killed in an attack with poison gas by the Turkish army.


However, the demonstration was brutally attacked by Dutch police with horses and dogs used as weapons shortly before reaching the rally site. The reason given was that there had been an attack on the Turkish consulate, near which the demonstration route was passing. A total of 30 activists were injured in the attack, two of them seriously. As of today, twelve people have been detained.


One demonstrator told ANF: "Actually, our demonstration was really good, loud and powerful. It also remained peaceful throughout the march. Shortly before we turned onto the meadow where the final rally was to take place, the police suddenly attacked us. They attacked us with horses and dogs. The horses were huge. They just trampled you when you couldn't get out of the way. Again and again, people fell in front of the horses, but the policemen still didn't stop the horses, they just ran over the people. They beat the people with batons from above. Some panicked. I panicked too, because we were also being pushed further and further together. I saw a man who was bleeding badly from the head. Another man had fallen into the river and was rescued by our friends. Several ambulances came. The police repeatedly threatened to let the dogs loose on us. Then they started picking out individuals from the crowd. This went on until we finally left. I saw that, even from the buses, people were taken out by the police just before we left."


The Kurdish Women's Movement in Europe (TJK-E) and the European Confederation of Kurdish Associations (KCDK-E) issued a joint statement condemning the police violence against the demonstration and demanding an apology from both the Dutch government and the police.

The statement released last night said, "The demonstration, which attracted a lot of media attention, was attacked at the last moment by the Dutch police in a ruthless, violent and horse-drawn manner. In this violent attack on a par with Erdogan's police, about 30 demonstrators were injured, ten of them HEAVİLY and two of them seriously. Twelve demonstrators were detained, also unjustly.

The demonstration was against the inaction and silence of the OPCW, which, despite ample evidence, plays the famous three monkeys and stands by while freedom fighters are killed by chemical weapons. The demonstrators, who were exercising their democratic right to protest against the attitude of the OPCW, the EU and the UN, were brutally attacked by the Dutch police in a manner not dissimilar to the Turkish police.

We strongly condemn the attack. We condemn the Dutch government and police for their violent reaction to a demonstration that was organised on a fully democratic basis. We expect both the Dutch government and the police to apologise to the Kurdish population and the demonstrators for the attack.

The demonstration was reported in almost all Dutch media, the police violence was perceived with astonishment and criticized. As KCDK-E and TJK-E we thank all the people who participated in the demonstration to protest against the silence of the OPCW and its member states. We will continue to fight against this injustice, against the attacks and against the silence on the genocide of the Kurdish people and we will continue to resolutely use our democratic right in the streets."