Around 15,000 Kurds participated in a demonstration in Cologne on Saturday, January 27. Protesters gathered at the Ebertplatz at 10:00 (local time) before starting to march through the city. Police officers forced the marchers to disperse after participants held banned pictures of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. A number of protesters also refused to uncover their concealed faces. Officers escorted the crowd back to their initial starting point. According to a police spokesman, no incidents of violence have been reported but the situation remains tense.
Members of the Kurdish community are holding to demonstration to protest an ongoing Turkish military operation in Syria. On Sunday, January 21, Turkish forces entered the Afrin region of Syria as part of an offensive targeting Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) - deemed by Ankara as a terrorist organization and ally of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Individuals in Cologne are advised to avoid any demonstrations as a precaution, to anticipate transportation disruptions, and to report any suspicious behavior or objects to the police.