German police clash with Kurdish protestors in Dusseldorf: report

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-05 02:45:16|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BERLIN, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- German police clashed with a few thousand Kurdish protesters marching through the center of the western city of Dusseldorf on Saturday, news agency DPA reported.

Violence erupted after police spotted banners featuring Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) banned by Turkey, according to the report.

The PKK is considered a terrorist group in Turkey and the European Union, with PKK symbols outlawed across the bloc. The PKK has been deemed a terror organization in Germany since 1993.

German police said they had repeatedly asked for participants to roll up the banners. When their requests were ignored, police moved to stop the march. Some protesters came after officers with sticks.

Police said they responded with pepper spray. Five people were detained.

Demonstrators were protesting against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, over the conflict with the PKK in the country's south-east. Recent Kurdish rallies in Germany have raised the ire of Turkey, DPA reported.

The German ambassador in Ankara was summoned to Turkey's Foreign Ministry in September, following a Kurdish festival in Cologne, it said.

Also on Saturday, the foreign ministers of Turkey and Germany held a surprise meeting in Turkey's southern province of Antalya, and discussed the bilateral relations, local broadcaster NTV reported.

The two foreign ministers, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Sigmar Gabriel, were in Antalya for the 2017 Turkish Airlines Open golf tournament held as part of the European Tour Rolex Series.

The German-Turkish ties have been strained from a deep mistrust. Ankara has been accusing Germany of tolerating activities of the PKK in its territories and of offering asylum to the followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for a failed military coup last year.

Berlin, in return, criticized Turkey for arresting German journalists and activists on baseless grounds.

Despite disagreements, both sides have expressed interest in dialogue to improve relations.