Thousands attend politically charged funeral for Kurdish shooting victims in Paris

© Julien De Rosa, AFP

Thousands of Kurds from across Europe travelled to the Paris suburbs Tuesday for the politically charged funeral of three of their own killed in a December attack in the French capital.

Buses were chartered to bring people from across France and some neighbouring countries to the ceremony in Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris, local sources said.

Tears and cries of "Martyrs live forever!" greeted the coffins, wrapped in the flags of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdish-controlled Rojava territory in northern Syria.

The huge crowd followed the funeral on giant screens erected in the car park, showing the coffins surrounded by wreaths beneath a portrait of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Police and security volunteers were on duty outside the hall hired for Tuesday's proceedings.

A xenophobic gunman, William Malet, killed two men and one woman in a December 23 attack on the Ahmet Kaya community centre in Paris's 10th district.

His victims were Abdurrahman Kizil, singer and political refugee Mir Perwer and Emine Kara, a leader of the Movement of Kurdish Women in France.

Arrested after the shootings and formally charged on December 26, 69-year-old Malet told investigators he had a "pathological" hatred for foreigners and wanted to "murder migrants", prosecutors said.

Distrust of Turkey

Malet, a retired train driver, had a violent criminal history and had just left detention over a previous incident.

The Turkish suspect in the killings, believed to have had ties to Ankara's secret services, died of cancer in pre-trial detention.

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