Police: Kurdish Protestors at London Attraction Ending

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Police said Wednesday that a group of Kurdish demonstrators who had occupied the London Eye, a massive Ferris wheel in central London, were ending their protest peacefully. 

Demonstrators in one of the gondolas had stepped off the wheel and were escorted away in groups of four by police officers in riot gear. 

Those in a second gondola, which was still high above the ground, were preparing to leave the attraction. "They are coming down," a police spokeswoman said. 

The protest was linked to a massive crackdown by the Turkish government on hunger-striking prisoners in which 17 inmates and two soldiers had died. 

Speaking by mobile phone before he gave himself up to police, one of the protestors said one man in each of the hijacked gondolas had doused himself in petrol and had been prepared to set fire to himself. 

"Our action today was to get the British government to speak out on behalf of the prisoners and let the rest of the world know what is going on," said the man, who identified himself as Sinan Unal. 

Scotland Yard said the demonstrators would be taken from the London Eye to a police station where they would be interviewed in connection with damage to one of the gondolas. 

A separate protest, in which a group of Kurdish men and women occupied the offices of the European Commission, also in central London had ended, police said. 

According to a police spokesman, the protestors, who numbered about 12, have been arrested and will be charged with criminal damage, trespassing and assault on a security guard -- LONDON (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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