Kurd Protest: Turks humiliate Kurd leader as London protest ends

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THE OCCUPATION of the Greek Embassy in London by Kurdish protesters came to a peaceful end yesterday after politicians joined police negotiators to help reach an agreement.

Shortly after 2pm, 77 protesters, including four women, walked from the building in Holland Park, west London, and were arrested and charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

As the siege wound down, fall-out from the capture by Turkish forces of the Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan continued across Europe.

The Greek government was reeling from outrage over its failure to protect Mr Ocalan. Three cabinet members, including the Foreign Minister, Theodoros Pangalos, were forced to resign and the government's future was in doubt.

In a Turkish island prison,prosecutors began interrogating Mr Ocalan. They also humiliated the rebel leader by forcing him to stand between two Turkish flags to be filmed.

With the Kurdish insurgents rudderless, the Turkish army kept up its latest incursion into neighbouring northern Iraq in pursuit of rebels seeking sanctuary. Troops backed by helicopters and warplanes pursued fighters in northern Iraq for the fourth day running.

In London, the human-rights lawyer Gareth Peirce wasinvolved in final negotiations and agreed to represent those arrested. The end of the occupation ended three days of tension: with many Kurdish supporters demonstrating in the streets next to the embassy and keeping up a 24-hour vigil, police had been concerned that the situation could flare at any moment.

Police said that the sole hostage, the embassy caretaker, Babis Patsouris, was in good health. He declined to comment on his ordeal, which began when the Kurds forced the door of the embassy.

It took less than an hour for all the Kurds to leave the building yesterday, to be searched and arrested and driven away to be charged.

Police said that they were remaining on the alert and that up to 500 Kurdish demonstrators remained in streets near the embassy last night.

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