|The huge march marking its way down Lord Street|
Around three hundred Kurdish people plus a handful of supporters took over entire streets in Liverpool city centre this afternoon, as they demonstrated their opposition to ISIS and their enablers in the Turkish government.
Despite avowedly being part of a US-led anti-ISIS military coalition in the region, the Turkish military has aided the reactionary group, and are grateful for their assistance in suppressing Kurdish people in Kobanê, part of the autonomous Rojava region of what is officially Syria.
The protest began with a relative handful of people at the Victoria monument on Derby Square. After maybe an hour of rousing speeches and chanting, the by now enormous crowd decided to begin a long, slow march through key parts of Liverpool city centre. Along the way, many passers-by applauded, and some joined in when they heard what the cause was.
Despite a large and intimidating police presence at Derby Square for a non-violent demonstration, authorities eventually seemed to agree a hands-off approach, even apparently arresting someone who threw a missile at the demonstration on Bold Street. By that stage, however, the gathering was so large that it completely covered the road down that long road, and it was clear that any attempt at repression would need a massive – and considering current UK foreign policy, politically embarrassing – operation. Two sit-downs in the middle of Lord and Lime Streets met with no visible police action.
Support for the autonomous Rojava cantons’ revolution continues to grow worldwide, with many particularly inspired by images and reports of women leading the fight against ISIS. This was one of the biggest demonstrations in Liverpool for a few years, and certainly the most spontaneous, energetic, and friendly. It was also brilliantly organised for such short notice, with stewards the length of the march distributing English language leaflets to bemused onlookers.