RealNews

Kurds rally in Cyprus demanding jailed rebel leader Ocalan's release

About 500 Kurdish protesters marched through the Cypriot capital Thursday demanding the release of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan on the eve of the fourth anniversary of his capture by Turkey. The demonstrators carried posters with Ocalan’s picture and the red and yellow flags of the rebel PKK or Kurdish Workers Party, which is banned in Turkey and is on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations. They also carried huge banners declaring “Free Ocalan — Peace in Kurdistan.” The demonstration marked Saturday’s fourth anniversary of Ocalan’s capture, but was held two days early as Saturday is the eve of Cyprus’ presidential election when all public demonstrations are banned. Ocalan, who was captured in Kenya in 1999, is the sole inmate of a Turkish prison island where he is serving a life sentence for leading a 15-year war against the Turkish army that left 37,000 people dead. The Nicosia rally was planned before Kurdish rebels in Turkey warned Ankara on Wednesday they would stop observing a 4-year-old unilateral cease-fire implemented following Ocalan’s capture if Turkey made no conciliatory steps. Full Story

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