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Protests

Kurds protest over murder of activists in Paris

Thousands of Kurds have taken to the streets of the French capital to protest over the murder of three women linked to a militant Kurdish group. Meanwhile Ankara is demanding answers from Paris about the killings.

Some 10,000 people were estimated to have gathered in Paris on Saturday to express indignation over the killings of the three women, who had links with the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

The demonstrators gathered outside the capital's Gare du Nord, holding aloft Kurdish flags and chanting "We are the PKK."

In a leaflet distributed at the protest, the Federation of Kurdish Associations in France (Feyka) said the French state would share responsibility for the "act of aggression" if the killers were not found.

"This act of aggression has taken place at a time when talks to find a solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey were just getting underway," read the leaflet, referring to recent talks between the PKK and Ankara.

The women, who included founding PKK member Sakine Cansiz, were found shot dead in a community center in Paris in the early hours of Thursday morning. The attack was condemned by the governments of both France and Turkey and a motive is still unclear.

As the protest took place, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan demanded an explanation from French President Francois Hollande about links between the three women and the Elysee Palace.

Hollande said that he had known one of the victims "because she met us regularly."

"The French president must explain to the Turkish people and to the world why he met with members of a terrorist organization," Erdogan said.

The PKK is also listed as a terrorist organization by both the European Union and the United States. More than 40,000 people have died since the group's armed uprising for an independent Kurdish state began in 1984.

rc/mkg (Reuters, dpa)