Crete: Protesters occupy German consulate | News | DW | 16.03.2018
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Crete: Protesters occupy German consulate

Activists have stormed the German consulate on the Greek island of Crete to stage a protest against Turkey's military offensive in Afrin, northern Syria. It was not immediately clear why they chose to target Germany.

Around 10 masked protesters briefly took over the German consulate in the Cretian capital of Heraklion on Friday, police said.

"A group of persons entered the consulate, took down frames from the walls and put up banners. Then they left," a spokesperson said, without commenting on reports that the intruders had absconded with the German flag.

A banner hanging from the property's balcony read: "Solidarity with Afrin - Resistance is life" in Kurdish, German and Greek.

Read moreKurdish youth in Germany call for violent protest in Europe

The German Embassy in Athens confirmed to German broadcaster ARD that the incident had resulted in "significant damage."

Another police official said the activists had smashed windows. There were no reports of arrests or injuries.

Read morePro-Kurdish and Turkish protesters clash at German airport 

Attacks on government buildings and embassies are not uncommon in Greece. The EU member is emerging from an economic crisis while at the same time grappling with a large number of migrant arrivals — mainly from Syria.

The country also sees frequent protests staged by Kurds against the Turkish government. It was not immediately clear why the protesters targeted Germany in this latest incident.

People fleeing Afrin on a tractor

Thousands of people have fled the city of Afrin since Turkey launched its military offensive

Turkey encircles Afrin

Turkish forces launched a military offensive, dubbed "Olive Branch," against the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin on January 20.

Thousands of locals have fled in recent weeks, and the UN warns hundreds of thousands of civilians still inside the besieged city are at risk.

The YPG has been a close Western ally in the fight against Islamic extremists in Syria. But Ankara considers the group to be a terrorist extension of the outlawed Turkish-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Watch video 00:42

Pro-Syrian government militia move into Kurdish-controlled Afrin

nm/kms (Reuters, AFP)

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