Embassy siege: 79 facing charges in over siege

Kurd outrage: Angry demonstrations across Europe over Ocalan's capture while London protesters appear in court
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The Independent Online
THE 79 Kurds arrested after the three-day siege at the Greek embassy in London were all charged with violent disorder last night. Scotland Yard said those arrested, including at least four women and a number of asylum-seekers, would appear before Horseferry Road magistrates' court in central London.

The move follows angry protests from Kurdish campaigners after the occupiers were detained under anti-terrorism legislation as they emerged from the embassy in Holland Park shortly after 2pm on Thursday.

Meanwhile in Berlin, about a dozen Kurds laid a wreath outside the Israeli consulate, where three Kurds who tried to storm the building on Wednesday were shot dead by Israeli security guards.

Representatives of the group then spoke with the Israeli ambassador, Avi Primor.

Mr Primor said afterwardsthat there was "no feud" between Israelis and Kurds, blaming "some kind of misunderstanding" for the rumours that set off the attempted occupation.

In Amsterdam today up to 4,000 Kurds plan to demonstrate against the seizure of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is in a Turkish jail. Yesterday, a group of 44 Kurds arrested earlier this week after taking over the Greek ambassador's residence in The Hague stood trial on charges of unlawful detention of individuals, illegal entry and the destruction of personal property. Each faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Thousands of Kurds demonstrated across the Middle East yesterday in support of Mr Ocalan, burning the Turkish flag in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, attacking Turkish trucks in Iran, and causing traffic chaos in Cyprus.

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 protesters marched on the Lebanese parliament and prime ministerial offices in Beirut, demanding that the government intercede with Turkey to set Mr Ocalan free.

Mr Ocalan is well-known in Lebanon, where his group had training camps in the 1980s. He was last seen in Lebanon in 1992 at a guerrilla training camp.

In Nicosia, Cyprus, about 300 demonstrators waving PKK flags and chanting "Free Ocalan" marched through the city centre, bringing traffic to a standstill for an hour. Earlier, some 100 Kurds ended a hunger strike outside the Greek embassy. Before dispersing, they delivered a letter to the embassy demanding Mr Ocalan's release in the name of the PKK's political wing, the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan.

Greek Cypriot political leaders visited the protesters outside the embassy to express support.

In Tehran, more than 2,000 Kurds stood outside the Turkish embassy, shouting "Turkey, we will burn you!" The protesters then marched through the Iranian capital. Elsewhere in Iran, 3,000 Kurds staged a demonstration in Mahabad, a city close to the border of Iraq and Turkey that was proclaimed the capital of Kurdistan early this century.