Long March activists protest Turkish chemical attacks in Kurdistan

"We must take our future into our own hands, fraternally as peoples of this earth. We have no more patience and no more time for the rulers and their excuses," said the participants of the Long March in Germany.

The Long March of the Kurdish youth movement for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan leads today from Leverkusen to Essen. At the beginning of the twenty-kilometre-long stage, a protest action against the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish army in Kurdistan took place. The activists from several countries gathered at Chempark Leverkusen in protective suits and yellow smoke and displayed symbols of the Kurdish guerrillas.

"Why are we standing here today?

A speech given at the action said: "We are standing right in front of the headquarters of Bayer AG in Leverkusen. Bayer is a chemical and pharmaceutical company that has been around since 1863. That means that Bayer produces medicines, medical products and crop protection products. Why are we standing here today, as Italian, Catalan, French, German and Kurdish young people? To answer this question, I need to make a few connections clear. Because the pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer is also in line with other companies, such as BASF in Ludwigshafen, which are accused of supplying chemical weapons and chemical weapons-capable substances to war zones. These operations are internationally frowned upon and scandalised, but they benefit the ruling despots and, above all, they bring the companies money, lots of money.

"What does Halabja have to do with us?"

Now we come to the second point. In 1988, the largest chemical weapons attack since the First World War was carried out in Iraq. Three to five thousand innocent civilians died. We can derive two consequences from this attack. First, after the chemical weapons attacks, twelve years later, it became known that German corporations were also involved in the production of the poisonous gases. The German corporations were earning money by selling toxic chemicals en masse to a dictator. And secondly, the village of Halabja was not a random target. It was part of a war strategy. This village was a Kurdish village. It was a centre of resistance against Saddam Hussein, but also against the oppression that the Kurds have been experiencing throughout the Middle East for the last hundred years.

What does Halabja have to do with us now, here, today? Today, yesterday, the day before and for the last five months, chemical weapons attacks on Kurdish villages in northern Iraq have continued to be planned, prepared and carried out. There have been 1762 attacks since the beginning of the offensive alone. The Turkish state, Erdogan, with the support of the northern Iraqi government, are bombing and attacking to break the Kurdish resistance. This war against the population is also being waged with German Leopard tanks, with German drone technology. All technology to assassinate in a targeted or indiscriminate way. To stifle hope and make the population defenceless. The chemical weapons used in northern Iraq since the beginning of the year have been sufficiently documented, samples have been taken and brought to Europe. But the responsible institutions refuse to check the samples. Why this is so, we can only speculate. But if we look at the unattractive sample results from Halabja, which prove that German chemical warfare agents were used, we can also guess why no one wants to take a closer look at the samples.

"Why are Erdogan and Baerbock shaking hands?"

Why do we ignore these facts? That people and corporations in Germany and Europe no longer judge according to morals and values, but according to avarice and personal profit? As young people, we strongly condemn this filthy behaviour. Our task is to carry morals and principles upright back into this society and to stop the miserable killing.

We know that Erdogan and Baerbock shake hands because every German government wants to protect the interests of German industry. We know that thousands have to die every day because of this disgusting, humping attitude of politicians and entrepreneurs. We mourn for our young friends who had to suffocate from the gas in the caves and in the mountains of Kurdistan. But we know it was not only the gas they choked on, it was the double standards of the rulers, their lack of backbone, their pathetic excuses and compromises.

"We are reacted to by people without attitude and conscience"

It may seem surreal to think of this situation, but as young people, it is our reality. We are being reacted to by people without an attitude and conscience. Forests around the globe are burning, oceans are expanding, ice is melting, populations are revolting.

We call on all the young people of the world to face this reality and to draw the necessary conclusions from it. We must take our future into our own hands, fraternally as peoples of this earth. We have no more patience or time for the rulers and their excuses. We will break this miserable state of anaesthesia. Wake up, we are in the midst of the third world war, which is spreading all over the earth. We call on you to follow your conscience. Stop the silence on Kurdistan, stop the massacres of the people of the Middle East and worldwide. We remember the brave martyrs. Their memory is a lesson for us.

We say: Long live the resistance in Kurdistan, long live the resistance of the guerrillas. Long live the brotherhood of the peoples. Death to Turkish fascism and German collaboration!"

After the protest action, today's stage of the youth demonstration started, which is to end at the Wiener Platz in Cologne. An event organised by women is planned for the evening in Cologne.