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KURDISH organisations were joined by trade unionists and anti-fascists for a mass protest in Vienna on Saturday, after Turkish far-right thugs attacked a demonstration held by Kurdish women earlier in the week.
A group from the Ernst-Kirchweger-Haus (EKH) organised a rally against rising femicide in Turkey, a day after a targeted drone strike killed three women in the largely Kurdish town of Kobane in Syria.
Protesters also slammed the “anti-women policies” of the Austrian government, with swingeing cuts leading to the closure of women’s centres across the country at a time when violence against women is on the rise.
After the demonstration ended, women were surrounded and assaulted by mobs of men who were soon joined by more than 100 fascist thugs.
Fearing for their safety, the women fled to the EKH building where they were forced to stay for more than three hours as police operations got underway.
The men were chanting slogans in support of Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and making the salute of the Grey Wolves – a Turkish fascist organisation linked to the far-right Nationalist Movement Party.
Kurdish women reported fearing for their lives, with the men stalking them after finding their addresses and personal information and subjecting them to death threats and intimidation.
The fascists are from the Favoriten district of Vienna and operate as the “owners and guards” of the neighbourhood, patrolling its streets and menacing locals.
They impose a ban on alcohol for residents and visitors during Ramadan, with violent consequences for those who fail to comply.
The thugs try to stop people speaking in Kurdish or listening to Kurdish music, often supplying police with photographs and names of those that have taken part in pro-Kurdish demonstrations or other events, implying that they are terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers Party.
The highly organised group, co-ordinated in a network via mobile phone, particularly targets Kurds and Alevis but has also attacked leftist events including a May Day rally in Keplerplatz this year.
It operates with seeming impunity as police turn a blind eye to its activities, refusing to make arrests despite fascist salutes and symbols being banned in Austria.
Tension had built after the Kurdish women were targeted on Wednesday, with a protest involving left groups, trade unions and anti-fascists the following day showing unity and solidarity against the far-right thugs.
In response, the fascists targeted the EKH building — which is home to Kurdish organisations, refugees and other leftist groups — throwing petrol bombs and setting it alight.
Saturday’s action was attended by thousands in a further display of unity, with the Rise Up for Rojava group warning that the attacks “are part of Turkish state terror against the women’s movement, against Kurds, and all those who show solidarity with them.”
It comes amid an escalation in Turkey’s war on the Kurds, including the bombing of Sengal and the Maxmur refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan and accusations of a genocide in northern Syria.
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