Alevis take to French streets to protest Turkish government
Thousands of Alevi faithful from several European countries demonstrate to demand equality and respect of human rights from the leaders of Turkey, as they gather in Strasbourg October 20, 2012. REUTERS photo
Some 10,000 Alevis have marched in Strasbourg against discrimination, assimilation and war in Turkey, daily Radikal has reported.
Numerous Alevi associations from all around Europe, as well as Hüseyin Aygün, a Tunceli deputy from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), participated in the march, which started from Place Bourse and ended in front of the European Council.
Those marching also took aim at Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"We see a dark picture when we look at Turkey from Europe. The legal statue for cemevis, compulsory religious courses, aggression against Alevis, marking the doors of Alevi houses and many other examples of discrimination have made us shout. We Alevis, as defenders of secularism, democracy and equality, say no to oppression, repression, injustice, assimilation, discrimination and war,” said Erdal Kılıçkaya, the head of the Federation of Alevi Unions in France (FUAF).
In a further protest against Erdoğan, organizers are sending a black painting and a bottle of red pain symbolizing blood to the prime minister.
Public holidays declared for Alevis in Austria
Several public holidays dedicated to Alevis, such as Day of Ashura and Hızır orucu have been declared by the Austrian government following an appeal from a group Alevi citizens, daily has Taraf reported.
Those who have Alevi marked in the religion or faith section of their identity card will be able to benefit from the newly-announced Alevi public holidays.
"We are satisfied with this decision," spokesman of Austria’s Alevi population Ertürk Maral said. "We have several Alevi professors in the universities and since the recognition of Alevism as a religion by the government on Dec. 16, 2010, we have been working hard for the Alevi population's rights."