Paris shooting: Police fire teargas to quell protesters after three killed at Kurdish center

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French police fired tear gas as they clashed with excited demonstrators outside a Kurdish community center in central Paris on Friday. A shooter earlier killed three and wounded four in a racist attack.

All three people killed in and near the Kurdish cultural center Ahmet-Kaya on Rue d’Enghien were Kurds, a lawyer for the center confirmed to CNN.

The suspect, a 69-year-old French man with a long criminal record, was arrested.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told journalists at the scene that he was not part of a far-right group monitored by police. “He (the suspect) clearly wanted to attack a foreigner,” Dermanin said.

Clashes with dozens of protesters, mostly from the Kurdish diaspora, erupted during Darmanin’s visit to the attack site on Friday.

The shooting has not been designated a terrorist attack, but Paris prosecutor Laure Bequaud said on Friday that investigators had not ruled out a possible “racist motive” behind the shooting. .

“When it comes to racist motives, of course, these elements are part of an investigation that has just begun,” Beckow said.

French President Emmanuel Macron lamented the “heinous attacks” that “targeted the French Kurds” in a Twitter post on Thursday.

A crowd gathered near the community center after the incident.

“My thoughts to the victims, those fighting for their lives, their families and loved ones. I thank law enforcement for their courage and calmness,” Macron said.

According to Dalmanin, police in Paris and across France have been ordered to protect Kurdish sites and Turkish diplomatic offices in the wake of the attack.

He also asked the French president and prime minister to allow Kurds who want to demonstrate to do so.

The suspect in the shooting was released from custody two weeks ago, the Paris prosecutor said in a statement.

He was convicted of gun violence twice, in 2017 and 2022. In 2021, a Paris court will also open an investigation into violence “of a racist nature,” according to a statement.

Ambulance crews were present at the scene of a shootout by a gunman at the Kurdish Cultural Center Ahmet Kaya in Paris.

The last incident put him in pretrial detention while the court conducted an investigation.

“At this stage, there is no evidence that this man is involved in an extremist ideological movement,” the statement said.

After the incident, a crowd gathered near the center and Kurdish people were heard chanting the Kurdish phrase “Şehid Namirin.” This means, according to CNN’s local team, that those who are lost are never lost and are with us.

Darmanin has called on the French president and prime minister to allow Kurds who want to protest after being fatally shot.

Chant “Murderer Erdogan”, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s firm stance on Kurdish nationalism and his policies against Kurdish far-left extremists and political groups based in Turkey and Iraq There were people.

In the aftermath of the attack, Secretary of State Anthony Brinken expressed his “deep sympathy” for the French Kurds in a Twitter post. “My thoughts are with the members of the Kurdish community and the people of France on this sad day,” added Brinken.

In 2013, three Kurdish political activists, including a founding member of the Kurdish Workers’ Party, were murdered in central Paris. All three women were shot in the head in what was believed to be an assassination.

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