A shooting targets the Kurdish community in Paris, a demonstration breaks out
Police secure the scene of a shooting that killed three people near a Kurdish community center in Paris on December 23, 2022.
Three people were killed by bullets and three others were injured on Friday in the center of Paris by a man of French nationality. Members of the Kurdish community demonstrated at the site of the attack, leading to a clash with the police.
According to the French minister of the Inside Gérald Darmanin, the suspect obviously wanted to attack strangers and acted alone.
The 69-year-old man, known for previous acts of violence with weapons, was arrested shortly after the incident and taken into custody.
The facts took place on rue d'Enghien, in front of a Kurdish cultural center, in a lively shopping district popular with the Kurdish community.
Three people died: two in front of the Kurdish cultural center, another in a restaurant, and another fighting death, detailed Mr. Darmanin during a press briefing on the spot in the afternoon.
Two people are less seriously injured and the alleged shooter was also slightly injured during his arrest.
In a tweet, the French President Emmanuel Macron has denounced a heinous attack targeting the Kurds of France.
Thoughts of the victims, of those struggling to live, of their families and loved ones, wrote the Head of State.
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The Kurds of France have been the target of a heinous attack in the heart of Paris. Thoughts to the victims, to the people who are struggling to live, to their families and loved ones. Recognition to our law enforcement for their courage and composure.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 23, 2022
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The Paris prosecutor's office has opened an investigation for assassination, attempted assassination, intentional violence with weapons and violation of the law on weapons. The investigations were entrusted to the judicial police.
The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office (PNAT) visited the site, but there is no evidence to suggest that this branch should be seized of the file, indicated the Paris prosecutor, Laure Beccuau, dismissing for the time being the track of a terrorist attack.
In front of the press, Ms Beccuau added that the possible racist motives of the facts […] will obviously be part of the investigations which have just begun.
The reason for the act, although aimed at foreigners, must still be specified according to Minister Darmanin.
It is not sure that the killer who wanted to murder these people […] did it specifically for the Kurds, he added, amid rumors of a political attack were relayed by the Kurdish community on Friday.
Mr. Darmanin specified that the victims were not known to the French services. He nevertheless ordered the establishment of protection in front of the places where the Kurdish community meets, and also in front of the Turkish companies.
Nothing allows at this stage to accredit any affiliation of this man to an extremist ideological movement, wrote the prosecutor Beccuau in a press release published at the end of the day.
According two police sources, this man, a 69-year-old retired train driver of French nationality, is known for acts of violence with weapons committed in 2016 and December 2021.
On the other hand, he is unknown to the files of the territorial intelligence and the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI), said one of these two sources.
The Paris prosecutor indicated that the suspect had been sentenced in June to twelve months in prison for acts of violence with weapons committed in 2016. He appealed against this conviction.
He was also indicted in December 2021 for violence with weapons, with premeditation and of a racist nature, and damage for acts committed on December 8, 2021 in Paris, according to Laure Beccuau.
Initially placed in pre-trial detention, he was released on December 12 on bail, as required by law, and placed under judicial supervision, said the prosecutor.
In 2017, the man was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for prohibited possession of weapons.
On site, where a security perimeter was set in place at the intersection of rue d'Enghien and rue d'Hauteville, the emotion was strong.
A protest by the Kurdish community in Paris turned into a clash with police near the site of the shooting.
< p class="e-p">Violent incidents erupted in the afternoon in the neighborhood between demonstrators and security forces who responded to the throwing of projectiles with tear gas jets.
Garbage cans were set on fire and barricades erected in the street.
The windows of several civilian and police vehicles were smashed by cobblestones and bricks, and many fires were lit on the road.
PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), martyrs do not die!, chanted protesters in particular.
From minutes after the shooting, members of the Ahmed Kaya cultural center blamed Turkey, an AFP journalist noted. It's starting again, you're not protecting us, they're killing us! some shouted.
Friday's attack comes almost ten years to the day after the x27;assassination, on January 9, 2013, of three Kurdish activists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in this same neighborhood.
The judicial investigation in France, still in course, had noted the involvement of members of the Turkish secret services, without designating any sponsors.