PARIS — Kurdish activists, left-wing politicians and anti-racism groups stage a protest in Paris on Saturday after three people were killed at a Kurdish cultural center in an attack authorities said targeted foreigners.
The shooting in a busy central Paris neighborhood also injured three people and raised concerns about hate crimes at a time when far-right voices have risen to prominence in France and across Europe in recent times. years.
The alleged attacker, who was injured and is in police custody, is a 69-year-old man who was charged last year with attacking migrants and was released earlier this month. Investigators were considering a possible racial motive for Friday’s shooting.
The shooting rocked the Kurdish community in the French capital and sparked skirmishes between angry Kurds and police.
The Paris police chief met with members of the Kurdish community on Saturday to try to allay their fears ahead of Saturday’s rally in Place de la République.
Friday’s attack took place at the cultural center and at a nearby restaurant and hair salon. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the suspect clearly targeted foreigners, acted alone and was not officially affiliated with any far-right or radical movement. The suspect had previous convictions for illegal possession of weapons and armed violence.
Kurdish activists said they had recently been warned by police of threats against Kurdish targets.
In 2013, three Kurdish activists, including Sakine Cansiz, founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, were found shot dead in a Kurdish center in Paris.
The Turkish army is fighting against Kurdish militants affiliated with the banned PKK in southeastern Turkey as well as in northern Iraq. The Turkish military also recently launched a series of air and artillery strikes against Syrian Kurdish militant targets in northern Syria.