Kurds continue to protest in Syria (videos) UPDATED
Despite attempts by the Assad regime to mollify Kurds with offers of reform, they have once again gone out to the streets of their towns in Syria to protest against the regime and demand freedoms. The protests today (April 1) in Amûdê, ar-Raqah and Qamişlo come after promises by the Baath regime to review the 1962 census that stripped 150,000 Kurds of their Syrian citizenship and all the rights attached to it. The protesters also ignored the calls by the general secretariat of the Kurdish Political Council in Syria to stop the protests. The Kurdish council praised the reforms offered by Assad’s regime and the coverage by Syrian state-run media of (technically banned) celebration of the Kurdish new year Nowruz.
In an interview, an exiled Kurdish political activist in Germany, Abdelbasit Hemo, explained that Kurds will participate in protests today because they don’t take Assad’s promises seriously. He added that Kurds were late to join the protest movement in Syria, but they are showing their support for the Syrian protest movement and especially Deraa and Latakia (where protests were brutally repressed, with hundreds of peaceful protesters being killed by security forces). In another interview the Kurdish dissident said that the Syrian uprising is an opportunity for the Kurds, and one that will be taken. He added that all Syrians are interested in change – Arabs, Kurds, Christians – because they’re all suffering from the same repression.
In the protests, Kurdish protesters chanted in Arabic messages of Syrian unity and demanded freedoms. No Kurdish flags were spotted in the protests. In protests last week, chants for “long live Kurdistan” and Kurdish flags were used. UPDATE: Protesters also chanted “Azadî” (freedom in Kurdish) in Qamişlo.
In this protest in Amûdê (Amouda – Al-Hasakah province) the protesters chanted “peaceful, peaceful”, “the leader who kills his own nation”, “we will sacrifice our souls and blood for Deraa”. As well as “Allah, Syria and freedom -that’s it” (a take on the Baath chant “Allah, Syria, Assad – that’s it”. Signs the protesters carried read “Respect for the heroes of freedom. We will never forget you, martyrs of Deraa, together for freedom oh heroes of Syria” and “We are all Syria”.
Another video from Amûdê with the same chants:
Yet another video from Amûdê with the chants: “Allah, Syria, freedom – that’s it”, and “we will sacrifice our blood and souls for Syria.” A banner carried by the protesters listed their demands: canceling the state of emergency immediately, creating an independent judiciary, constitutional reform, abolishing Article 8 of the Syrian constitution that makes the Baath party “the leading party in the society and the state”, solving the situation of the stateless Kurds, freeing of political prisoner, freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
Protests took place in Qamişlo (al-Qamishli) as well. Chants are “the Syrian people are united, united, united”, and “freedom, freedom”.
UPDATED: New video
A Kurdish protester speaks to a cheering crowd in Qamişlo. He starts in Kurdish and switches to Arabic talking about the importance of national unity, stating that the people of Syria are all united (“we are all in one hand… we are all sons of this land”). He says that the protesters will do everything in their power, peacefully voicing their demands. He added that peace is the weapon of the protesters and they will not be threatened or afraid – now is the time for change. He then adds that those who say Kurds are destructive are liars – the Kurdish people are civilized, participating in the call for action with the people of Syria, demanding freedom and human rights.
Another video from Qamişlo: “freedom, freedom”, and then “Allah, Syria, freedom – that’s it”.
Another video from Qamişlo: “Allah, Syria and freedom – that’s it” and “peaceful, peaceful”.
Another video from Qamişlo: “Allah, Syria, freedom – that’s it” and “the Syrian people are united”.
UPDATE: new video from showing protesters chanting in Kurdish and Arabic “Freedom, freedom”. Arabic chant is heard as well – “Allah, Syria, freedom – that’s it”.
Photos of protests in Qamişlo
“Freedom is not a foreign plot” (a reference to Assad’s speech where he blamed the unrest of foreign plots to destabilize Syria).
“We love our freedom and that’s it” (again, a take on the Baath chant that ends with “Assad and that’s it”.
More photos here.
UPDATE: Post updated to reflect additional two videos from Qamişlo.