Around 15 Kurdish politicians, writers and journalists began their hunger strike yesterday outside the European Council building in Strasbourg, France, where the European Parliament and European Court of Human Rights is also located.
The action has already spread as more than a hundred Kurds across different EU countries, have declared their support in joining the strike action over Kurdish Workers Party leader Abdulla Ocalan’s imprisonment and Turkey’s treatment of Kurds.
The 15 protestors belong to the Initiative for the Freedom for Ocalan, and are using St Maruice Church for their strike, which they describe as indefinite and irreversible until their demands are met.
One of the protestors, 65-year-old Arslan Akter, from Holland, told Firat News Agency: “I risk death and I will stay here until the end of the act.”
The protestors announced that they expect hundreds to join them in the coming weeks with alternate five-day hunger strike acts in groups. They also expected thousands to join them in Turkish and European cities.
The group are demanding the freedom and well-being of Ocalan, who was abducted by Turkish authorities and imprisoned in Imrali Prison, in the Marara Sea off Istanbul, Turkey.
Ocalan was sentenced to death for separatist activities in 1999 but his sentence was later commuted to life in prison. In 2005 the European Court of Justice ruled the case against Ocalan was unfair.
The protestors are calling on the European Council, the European Union and international agencies to take action against the pressures the Turkey puts on the Kurdish people.
More than 400 Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey and Europe have used hunger strikes in the last few weeks to make the same demands.
Around 8000 Kurdish political activists– including MPs, councilors, mayors and journalists – imprisoned in Turkey and Kurdistan are expected to show their support and join the strike.
By Roni Alasor