Representatives of France’s Kurdish community gathered in central Paris on Saturday for a demonstration to demand answers over the killing of three Kurds in the French capital they say has exposed the community’s vulnerability.
A gunman carried out the killings at a Kurdish cultural centre and nearby cafe on Friday in a busy part of Paris’ 10th district.
Police arrested a 69-year-old man who the authorities said had recently been freed from detention while awaiting trial for a sabre attack on a migrant camp in Paris a year ago.
After an angry crowd clashed with police on Friday afternoon, the Kurdish democratic council in France (CDK-F) called on its website and social media channels for a gathering from midday (1100 GMT) on Saturday at Republic square, a traditional venue for demonstrations in the city.
Several hundred people gathered in the square, with many holding flags.
Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said on Friday that possible racist motives would be part of the investigation, but Kurdish representatives said it should be considered as a terror attack.
“We know that we are under threat, Kurds in general, Kurdish activists and militants. France owes us protection,” Berivan Firat, a spokesperson for the CDK-F told BFM TV.
Friday’s murders caused particular dismay in the Kurdish community as it prepared to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the killings of three Kurdish women in Paris.
“The Kurdish community is afraid. It was already traumatised by the triple murder (in 2013). It needs answers, support and consideration,” David Andic, a lawyer representing the CDK-F told reporters on Friday.
Paris’ police chief was due to meet members of the Kurdish community on Saturday morning ahead of the afternoon protest.