Police fire tear gas to quell protests at the site of deadly shooting in Paris

(CNN) French police fired tear gas amid clashes with protesters outside a Kurdish community center in the heart of Paris, where a gunman killed three people and wounded four others in an attack with possible racist overtones.

The three people killed in and around the Ahmet-Kaya Kurdish Cultural Center on Rue d’Enghien were Kurdish, the center’s lawyer confirmed to CNN.

The alleged attacker, a 69-year-old Frenchman with a long criminal record, was arrested.

He was not part of any far-right group under police surveillance, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters at the scene.
“For now, no element allows us to know if the attack is specifically directed against the Kurds,” he added.

During Darmanin’s visit to the site of the attack, clashes broke out with dozens of protesters, mostly from the Kurdish diaspora.

Although the shooting has not been classified as a terrorist attack, the Paris prosecutor, Laure Beccuau, declared this Friday that the investigators do not rule out possible “racist motivations” behind the events.

“When it comes to racist motivations, of course these elements are part of the investigation that has just started,” Beccuau said.

President Emmanuel Macron deplored the “appalling attack” in which “the Kurds of France have been attacked” in a message on Twitter.

Police in Paris and across France were ordered to protect Kurdish sites and Turkish diplomatic institutions after the attack, according to Darmanin.

He has also asked the French president and prime minister to allow Kurds who want to demonstrate.


The suspect in the shooting had been released less than two weeks ago, while a court continued to investigate his previous involvement in violent acts of a “racist nature,” the Paris prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

He was convicted twice, in 2017 and 2022, for committing violent acts with firearms. A Paris court also launched an investigation in 2021 for violence “of a racist nature,” according to the statement.

The shooting took place inside the center, a restaurant and hair salon right in front of the center.

Beccuau told reporters at the scene that police knew the suspected attacker had been involved in two incidents: one in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis and the other at a migrant camp in Bercy, near the Finance Ministry. French. , in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.

French police secure the street after multiple shots were fired on rue d’Enghien, in the 10th arrondissement, in Paris, on December 23, 2022. (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The latest incident led to his entry into pretrial detention while the court conducts an investigation.

“At this time, there is no evidence that this man is affiliated with any extremist ideological movement,” the statement said.

Following the incident, crowds gathered near the center, where people of Kurdish descent were heard chanting the Kurdish phrase “Şehid Namirin,” which means: “Those who are lost are never really lost, but with us,” according to the team. CNN on the ground.

Some people were also heard chanting “Erdogan killer”, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strong stance against Kurdish nationalism and his policy towards far-left Kurdish political and militant groups based in Turkey and Iraq. .

Editor’s note: this article was updated with recent information.

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