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Friday, February 19, 1999 Published at 04:09 GMT


World: Europe

Kurds continue German protests

One of the Berlin casualties: Three protesters were killed and 16 injured

Kurdish demonstrators - angered by the arrest of rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan - have made renewed attacks in Germany on Turkish targets, despite threats of expulsion by German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

The Ocalan File
In the latest incident in the town of Heilbronn, protesters threw Molotov cocktails through the windows of a Turkish cultural centre and attacked visitors with baseball bats, injuring four people, police said.

Five Kurds were detained as suspects.


[ image:  ]
And in Bremen, petrol bombs were thrown through the windows of two Turkish travel agencies, causing extensive damage. Several suspects were arrested.

There were further attacks on Turkish facilities in Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, but no one was hurt.

These attacks appeared to be the latest in a string of violent protests sparked by Turkey's capture of Mr Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

On Wednesday three Kurds were shot dead and another 16 injured when they stormed the Israeli consulate in Berlin. The Kurds said they were acting on reports that Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service, had helped to abduct Mr Ocalan. Israel has denied any involvement.

A team of Israeli investigators was due in Berlin on Thursday to begin looking into the shooting incident. Israeli officials said their security staff fired in self-defence when a group of Kurds attempted to get inside the building.

Explusion threat

Half a million Kurds live in Germany but Chancellor Schröder has warned that those involved in further demonstrations in support of Mr Ocolan will be deported.


[ image: Mr Ocolan is facing murder and terrorism charges in Turkey]
Mr Ocolan is facing murder and terrorism charges in Turkey
He warned: "If those living here do not respect the law they will have to leave the country," he said.

Chancellor Schröder said Germany would not tolerate political conflicts from foreign countries being carried over into German streets.

His Interior Minister, Otto Schily, said on Wednesday that the government was considering tightening laws to allow the deportation of Kurds convicted of violence.

A BBC correspondent in Berlin says the Kurds are planning to hold more protest marches in Germany.

Global protests

The recent attacks in Germany form part of worldwide protests by Kurds at Mr Ocolan's arrest at the Greek embassy in Kenya late on Monday.

Mr Ocalan's supporters consider him a hero for leading the rebel PKK movement in its fight for a Kurdish homeland in Turkey. Turkey says he is a criminal responsible for more than 29,000 deaths.

The PKK leader faces murder and terrorism charges which carry the death penalty. He is expected to make his first court appearance in the next few days.



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