Kurdish activists enter HQ of chemical weapons watchdog
Dozens of flag-waving demonstrators from a Kurdish organisation broke into the Dutch grounds of the global chemical weapons watchdog on Friday to protest what they alleged was the use of chemical weapons by Turkish forces.
Police said they arrested about 50 protesters who managed to get past security, including a high fence that surrounds The Hague headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, spokesperson Dick Goijert said.
A Kurdish group called DEM NED organised the protest against the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Turkish armed forces, Goijert said. He did not have further details.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party issued a statement on Thursday alleging Turkey has repeatedly used chemical weapons in northern Iraq. Turkey denies it uses chemical weapons in its conflict with the group, which is known as the PKK and has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Photos from the protest published by Dutch media outlet Regio 15 showed at least a dozen police vehicles lined up outside OPCW headquarters and dozens of protesters outside the building holding up banners and flags.
"The OPCW for the first time attributed blame for Syria chemical attacks, but activists are sceptical about its significance" writes Paul McLoughlin https://t.co/fS2BQ9scIP— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) April 16, 2020
The watchdog agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Organisers of the protest could not be reached.
Turkey has carried out numerous cross-border incursions into northern Iraq over the years to fight the PKK, which maintains bases in the region.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the group began an insurgency in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast region in 1984.