Paris holds huge protest to support Aleppo

Largest demonstration in France since start of war as Eiffel Tower goes dark in show of support for trapped civilians

Paris holds huge protest to support Aleppo

World Bulletin / News Desk

Thousands of demonstrators gathered here Wednesday to demand an immediate cease-fire and urgent humanitarian intervention in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.

It was the largest demonstration in France since the beginning of the Syrian war six years ago, according to Amnesty International, one of the NGOs who called for the #StandWithAleppo gathering.

Crowds gathered at Place Igor Stravinsky - named after the famous Russian composer - to symbolically protest Russia’s role in civilian deaths and destruction of Aleppo.

Protestors donned red garments, held red objects and painted their faces in red as a reminder of the blood shed in Syria.

Some held candles and wrote “Alep”, or Aleppo, with lighted candles.

They all chanted and raised banners against the Syrian regime, its allies and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Assad, Putin, Daesh, UN, Rouhani: Guilty”, read one sign. “Save Aleppo and the Syrian people” and  “Stop the killing, save Aleppo, Save Humanity,” were said on others.

Chants of "Aleppo, Aleppo", "Syria won’t be defeated, Syria will live" and "Bashar, Putin, you are the terrorists,” could be heard thoughout the demonstration.

“The civilian population is not indifferent to what is happening on the other side of the world. We must mobilize and show our outrage to demand the protection of civilians in Syria," Cecile Coudriou, vice-president of Amnesty International France said while addressing the crowd.

She also read letters and testimonies sent by Syrians trapped in Aleppo.

Naha, a Syrian living in Paris, told Anadolu Agency the international community is doing little more than watching.

“The situation is really catastrophic in Syria and especially in Aleppo,” she said without giving her last name to protect her family still in Syria. 
“People are trapped, they can’t move, they are just waiting their death and no one is doing nothing to help them.

“What’s happening in Aleppo is against the universal humanitarian system. They need to get it. Those people are human beings, they are not aliens. Help our people; help the trapped population of Aleppo. They are like you.”

Valerie, 52, said she came to the protest because she feels helpless.

“I can’t just sit and watch thousands of people losing their life because of some crazy power-obsessed dictators. I had to do something. At least come here tonight,” she told Anadolu Agency.

“Aleppo is dying right before our eyes. We are witnessing the extermination of an entire population 24-7, live. This is beyond illogic and inhumanity,” Raphael Glucksmann, a French writer and intellectual, told Anadolu Agency.

“We are watching on social media live farewell messages from a population screaming and begging the world to save it. Men, women, children, elderly they are all saying, those could be my last words," he said.

“Aleppo is dying in the same way as Srebrenica and Grozny crumbled before. In the same so-called ‘Chechen’ method that the Kremlin master Putin embraces and imposes.”

The French writer said the great scores that participated in the gathering show people are shacked to the core and finally realizing the size of the tragedy taking place in Syria and Aleppo.

“This is good. They see clearly it is about humanity and not about politics. Genocide is taking place,” he said.

“The key now is to go out on the streets and make their voices heard. Put pressure so decision makers stop the Putin madness, “Glucksmann added.

Khadija, 37, came with her two daughters.

“We are here to send a message of support to the women and children of Syria and Aleppo in particular, to support the Syrians in their ordeal, we feel their pain, they re not alone.

“We are here to say stop to Bashar al-Assad, Putin and all the militias killing innocent people. We are here for peace. The Syrian and eastern Aleppo population need to have a normal, decent life with no war,“ she added.

Her daughter,Leila, 6, held a sign that read: “Save the kids of Aleppo “ written in different colors.

“ It breaks my heart to see girls of my age sharing videos on social media as their homes are being bombed, to say goodbye,” Khadija’s 16-year-old daughter, Faten, said. ”I can’t believe we are in 2016, entire families are starved and killed, and people are being burned alive. “

The Eiffel Tower turned off its lights and went dark to show solidarity with and honor Aleppo. 

“This symbolic measure, on a monument recognized the world over, aims to compel the international community to act urgently,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a statement.

Two trucks loaded with medical and humanitarian aid will be shipped Thursday to the besieged city, the Paris mayor said.

Earlier in the day, President Francois Hollande urged UN and international observers to supervise the evacuation of civilians trapped in the wrecked city.

Residents should "be evacuated in a dignified and safe manner, under the supervision of international observers and in the presence of humanitarian organizations,” he said in a statement.

An untold number of civilians in eastern Aleppo have been killed by regime forces in the past two days -- a situation the UN has described as alarming.

As a result of a Turkish mediation, a cease-fire took into effect as of 7 p.m. local time (1700GMT) Tuesday.

Under the deal, civilians trapped in the conflict-hit zone will be moved via buses to the western part of Aleppo. Opposition fighters would be evacuated after civilians.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Aralık 2016, 07:58