Kurdish activists enter grounds of chemical weapons watchdog

Kurdish activists enter grounds of chemical weapons watchdog

Dozens of flag-waving demonstrators from a Kurdish organization broke into the Dutch grounds of the global chemical weapons watchdog Friday to protest what they alleged was the use of chemical weapons by Turkish forces.

Police began arresting the protesters after they managed to get past security, including a high fence that surrounds The Hague headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, spokesperson Dick Goijert said.

A Kurdish group, DEM NED, organized the protest against the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Turkish armed forces, Goijert said. He did not have further details.

The Kurdistan Worker’s Party issued a statement Thursday alleging Turkey’s repeated use of chemical weapons in northern Iraq. Turkey denies it uses chemical weapons in its conflict with the group, which is known as the PKK and has been designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Photos from the protest published by Dutch media outlet Regio 15 showed at least a dozen police vehicles lined up outside OPCW headquarters and some 30 protesters outside the building holding up banners and flags.

The watchdog agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Organizers of the protest could not be reached.

Turkey has carried out numerous cross-border incursions into northern Iraq over the years to fight the PKK, which maintains bases in the region.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the group began an insurgency in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast region in 1984. [AP]

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