Protest against Öcalan's isolation in Zurich

In Zurich people demonstrated on Saturday against the tightened isolation conditions of Abdullah Öcalan. Numerous Kurds and solidary friends called on international forces and the CPT to act.

Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan has been kept imprisoned on island of Imrali since his abduction in February 1999 from the Greek embassy in Nairobi/Kenya. He has been denied legal assistance for more than seven years. Even his family members are not allowed to see him. In the latest case, a visit permit for his brother Mehmet Öcalan was obtained in September 2016. Since April 2015, he is in fact in total isolation.

The abduction of Ocalan was the result of an operation involving various international, regional and local reactionary forces. Öcalan left Syria, where the PKK had its headquarters at the time, on October 9, 1998. The Kurdish society describes the phase from that day on until its abduction into Turkey on 15 February 1999 in violation of international law as the "international conspiracy". Kurds all over the world therefore take to the streets to protest against the difficult prison conditions of the PKK founder and to demand his freedom.

On this occasion, numerous Kurdish and Swiss activists demonstrated in Zurich on Saturday. The Kurdish women's movement called for the protest and was supported by Turkish, socialist and leftist groups. The demonstration started at the central Helvetiaplatz Square. The participants carried banners highlighting the aggravated isolation and torture practices against the Kurdish leader. On numerous banners stood the demand "freedom for Öcalan". The demonstrators expressed their anger towards the Turkish regime with slogans such as "Isolation is a crime against humanity", "Bijî Serok Apo" (Long Live Leader Apo) and "No life without Öcalan".

During the protest march, there was also a short-term sit-down action in which lines were occupied and traffic was obstructed. In addition, the demonstrators condemned the attacks of the Turkish army on Rojava. Since October 28, the Turkish military has been targeting civilian settlements in the border area of ​​northern Syrian territory, notably Kobanê and Girê Spî (Tal Abyad). Several people were already killed.

“CPT and international forces are accomplices”

At a final rally, representatives of the Kurdish women's movement in Switzerland and the Democratic Kurdish Council gave several speeches. The international forces involved in the deportation of Ocalan, and also the Council of Europe's Anti-torture Committee (CPT), were urged to finally break their silence on the practice of AKP fascism. Protesters said these institutions are equally responsible for the total isolation imposed on Öcalan, as they accept his situation silently. Demands to investigate conditions on Imrali remain unnoticed by international institutions.

"We as the Kurdish people have been demanding the freedom of our representative for years and will continue to demand it. Everyone knows that Öcalan is a cause for peace, but also a cause for war for the Kurdish people. The Kurds and their friends will take to the streets without interruption and demand the freedom of Öcalan".