FRANCE: On Friday, a shooter opened fire at a Kurdish cultural centre and a nearby cafe in central Paris, killing three people and prompting violent demonstrations in the nearby streets.
France’s Kurdish community was the target of a “heinous attack,” said President Emmanuel Macron, praising the “courage” of police.
Around noon, several gunshots were heard on Rue d’Enghien, a busy street in the bustling 10th sector of the French capital dotted with small businesses and cafes, causing fear.
A Kurdish Cultural Center lawyer informed the media that all three of the deceased were Kurdish. A suspect, 69, was swiftly detained, and it soon emerged that he had been released from prison recently.
Images of a white man, a French national, wearing a grey shirt and scuffed white sneakers, being led away from there with his hands cuffed behind his back were shown on French news networks on Friday.
Clashes erupt after the attack in Paris
Later, after the attack, clashes broke out between police and the crowd that had gathered at the scene.
In footage circulating on social media, people were seen setting fires in the middle of the road and smashing car windows, and riot police in riot gear were shown responding by firing tear gas.
Unrest erupted after a man, described by witnesses as tall, Caucasian, and elderly, shot dead two men and a lady on Rue d’Enghien in Paris’s 10th arrondissement.
One of the three injured victims is reportedly in critical condition, and the other two are being treated for serious injuries.
Although the reason for the shooting hasn’t been confirmed, Paris Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said the man had been accused of racial violence in the past.
In that episode, which occurred on December 8 in Bercy, he used a sword to strike tents at a Parisian migrant camp. It was unknown why he had just been released.
The suspect has no known affiliation with “ultra-right” organisations, said French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who previously travelled to the scene.
The Kurdish community centre, a restaurant, and a hair salon were all targeted in the attack, said Alexandra Cordebard, a local mayor.
Ali Dalek, a person who saw what happened, told the media, “We were walking down the street when we heard gunshots. When we turned around, people were running in all directions.”
“Five or six minutes later, we went into the hair salon because we know people who work there. We saw that they had arrested a man,” he said.
A shopkeeper, another witness, told the media that she had locked herself in. According to her, there were seven or eight gunshots.
The attacker’s weapon was reportedly found after police eventually apprehended the man without any struggle. A murder inquiry, as per the prosecution, has been launched.
The attack was condemned in a brief statement by the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDF-K), which manages the attacked Ahmet-Kaya Kurdish centre.
The shooting occurred nearly ten years after the January 2013 murders of three Kurdish women activists in Paris, among them a co-founder of the ferociously nationalist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
A Turkish man was accused of the murders; however, he passed away in 2016 before going to trial.
In their statement, the CDF-K made reference to the infamous incident, noting that the attack on Friday took place “shortly before the 10th anniversary of the triple assassination of Kurdish activists in Paris on January 9, 2013.” The two occurrences currently have no known official connection.
On Saturday, a meeting is expected to take place between Laurent Nunez, chief of the Parisian police, and administrators of the Kurdish community, the force stated.