Police raid Kurdish activists’ tent at Occupy London

Pic: Sarah Whitehead

City of London police raided a tent outside St. Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday, after receiving an anonymous tip off that weapons were being stored there.

The tent, occupied by people from the Kurdish communities of Hackney, Stoke Newington and Croydon, has been at St. Paul’s for one week.

The police later gave a statement saying: “Officers responding to a 999 call attended a tent in the protest camp at 5:17 pm on Thursday. No arrests were made. A tent was searched but nothing was seized. It is unlikely there will be further investigations.”

Zelal,Karakocan, 27, a translator from Stoke Newington said: “It’s really shocking to be honest. We came here to show our support and we find the police behaviour really offensive.”

During the search Kurdish protesters waved the flags of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey.

‘They see us as terrorists’ said Deniz Marasli, 22, a French student of Kurdistan descent living in Hackney.

He said to  East London Lines: “I think it is a ploy against the Kurdish people. The same happened yesterday in a protest in France when several Kurds protesting were assaulted. I joined the movement because the Kurdish community are anti-capitalist and we want to show our support to these ideas.”

The police actions were met with opposition from other protesters. One of them was Ollie Palmer, 20, a UCL student living in Hoxton, who had spent his first night at St. Pauls. He said

‘The police arrived armed with machine guns and with a dog unit. Everyone rushed off to the tent once they realised and pledged their support for the Kurds. I don’t know much about the Kurds but I was against the police actions. The Kurds have had their tent here for several days and have always been friendly and contributed to the movement.’

Despite the recent raid, Kurdish group said they plan to stay at St. Pauls for as long as possible to continue supporting the protest.

Shaun, 18, a civil servant from Walthamstow and one of the movement’s legal spokesman said: “We welcome all cultures here and the Kurds are a valuable part of the movement. The more diverse we are the more we can show people we are a human movement as opposed to a white-middle class one.”

Written by Sarah Whitehead

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