Some 200 demonstrators took to the streets of Bristol on Sunday in a show of solidarity with the people of Rojava.
A peaceful march from the BBC’s studios on Whiteladies Road into Broadmead was held to protest the Turkish military invasion of north east Syria and the mass killing of Kurdish people, who have already lost more than 11,000 citizens in the fight against ISIS over the last five years.
“From afar, I speak for you Kurdistan, because I left my heart with you. Thank you so much friends, each and every one of you, for showing your love today,” posted Tara Miran, one of the demonstrators in a Facebook post after the protest on Sunday, October 13.
Members of Bristol Kurdish Solidarity Network were joined on the demonstration by representatives from Acorn, the Labour Party, Bristol IWW, Bristol Sisterhood, Plan C Bristol, Extinction Rebellion and people from all generations in a mass show of solidarity.
The invasion follows a decision by president Donald Trump to withdraw US support on the ground in northern Syria.
Event organisers stated: “The current situation in Rojava has reached a critical point with the withdrawal of US forces and subsequent attempts of invasion by the Turkish state.
“Turkey is going to bring another bloody and genocidal war to a region which has already suffered enough destruction at the hand of ISIS extremists.
“Brave international people fought fearlessly in the war, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. And now it is time for us to raise our voices and protect the autonomous region against a new fascist threat, a NATO ally.
“The fight for Rojava isn’t just a Kurdish or Syrian issue but an internationalist one.”
The Bristol demonstration was one of several across the country and a petition urging the UK to intervene and call on Turkey and the USA to halt the invasion has received more than 32,300 signatures.
The petition states: “The British Government must call on Turkey and the USA to halt a Turkish military invasion that would allow a genocide against the Kurdish people – the very people who have lost over 11,000 fighters defeating ISIS over the past 5 years. We call on the government to do all it can to stop this.”
Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, and Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, are among a cross-party group of MPs who have signed a letter to foreign secretary Dominic Raab calling on him to make it clear to his Turkish counterparts “in the strongest possible” terms that this act of aggression is “unacceptable and must be halted”.
The letter describes the US withdrawal of troops as an act of betrayal and one that leads an area of Syria “open to destruction and ethnic cleansing at the hands of Turkish forces”.
Photos thanks to Tara Miran
Read more: Solidarity tea party in St Paul’s