Watch: Riot Breaks Out in Paris Airport over Deportation of Kurdish Activist

Police officers stand guard at the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Roissy, outside Pari
JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of men clashed with French immigration and law enforcement officials as a riot broke out at a Paris airport amid efforts to deport a Kurdish activist from the country.

Chaos erupted at the Charles de Gaulle airport on Wednesday as around 20 supporters of Firaz Korkmaz, a Kurdish activist, brawled with police and civilian airport staff as they tried to block his removal to his native Turkey. Ultimately, Sentinelle soldiers stationed in the airport were forced to break up the riot in the terminal, broadcaster Europe 1 reports

Before the riot, the supporters were joined by several local communist officials, including Margate Marianne, Pierre Barros, and Raphaelle Primet, who protested against the deportation of the leftist Kurdish activist.

Korkmaz’s removal was reportedly prompted by his attendance at a protest on February 26th in Strasbourg outside of the headquarters for the Council of Europe in support of Abdullah Öcalan, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) a radical leftist group labelled as a terrorist organisation in the European Union, the United States, and in Turkey, among others.

Öcalan served as the leader of the PKK during the start of the series of armed Kurdish rebellions against the Turkish government. He was abducted by Turkish Intelligence in 1999 in Nairobi, Kenya and was sent to a prison on the Turkish island of İmralı island in Turkey, where he is believed to remain to this day.

According to the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency, Korkmaz was deported to Turkey, despite the attempts to block his removal.

Speaking to the French Communist Party-tied L’Humanité newspaper last week, Korkmaz claimed that he was merely a supporter of the leftist People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which Turkish President Recep Erdoğan previously asserted is functionally “equivalent” to the PKK but remains a legal party in the country.

Korkmaz has claimed that he will face persecution if sent back to Turkey, where he is currently facing prison time if he returns.

The head of regional secretary of the SGP Police Unit for Central Services,  Julien Adubeiro said that the riot on Wednesday “raises security questions for the police officers” while warning that such an incident could occur again, possibly during the upcoming Olympics.

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