BRUSSELS (AFP) - Dozens of Kurdish demonstrators burst into the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday to protest the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) attack on the town of Kobane on Syria's border with Turkey.
Brandishing Kurdish flags and effigies of their jailed separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, the men and women broke through a police barrier to enter the hall of the building. They staged a sit-in while several European members of parliament came to meet with them.
"We will fight Islamic State," the head of the socialist group in parliament, Gianni Pittella, told the protesters, using the name ISIS uses for itself.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said he met with the group's leaders and told them to end their protest peacefully. But he also told them he fully shared their concerns about the situation for civilians in Kobane as well as that more broadly in Syria and Iraq, and promised to convey their message to NATO.
"I reiterated the support of the European Parliament for the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq," he said.
Kurds also continued their protests across France on Tuesday, including around 500 people who gathered outside the foreign ministry in Paris calling for "solidarity with the Kurdish resistance".
"Our people are facing a massacre, a genocide. It is no longer time for debate, there must be a reaction now," one of the organisers told the crowd.
Marseilles saw its fourth Kurdish demonstration in just 10 days, with an estimated 1,500 people taking to the streets. There were smaller protests in Nice, Bourdeaux and Toulouse.
Turkey warned on Tuesday that the ISIS was on the verge of seizing Kobane even as US and Arab warplanes launched fresh strikes on ISIS positions near the Kurdish town.
The Kurdish protest in what is supposed to be a secure area occurred while confirmation hearings were taking place for the new team headed by incoming European Commission chief Jean Claude Juncker.
The parliament's security services said they would open a probe into the incident.