Tens of thousands of people rallied around the world on November 1 to demand greater international support for Kurds battling the ‘Islamic State’ in Syria.
Last year on the same date, hundreds of rallies, demonstrations and actions took place across dozens of countries to show support for Kobanê and its people at a time when major players in the region, including Turkey and Iraq, were doing little to help its people cope with the Islamic State siege.
The population of Rojava, the Kurdish-majority liberated region of northern Syria defended by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), has successfully managed to hold their territory against successive IS offensives, including several attacks on Kobanê.
But 10 months after Kobanê was liberated much more is needed to help the city rebuild. The Turkish regime is still blocking humanitarian aid from entering the city. Construction equipment and supplies, de-mining equipment and basic medical supplies, food and clothing are all urgently needed. The Kobanê Reconstruction Board has called for a humanitarian corridor to be opened up to allow the city to be rebuilt and life to return to normal.
Sydney and Melbourne rallies
In Australia rallies were held in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Sydney event echoed the call for a humanitarian relief corridor to allow volunteers, supplies and equipment to get to Kobanê. It also called for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be taken off the Australian government’s list of terrorist organisations. Speakers included Balmain Greens MP Jamie Parker; Peter Boyle from the Socialist Alliance and Mia Sanders from Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance; Amanda Johnston, the mother of Australian martyr for Kobanê, Ashley Johnston; Anjana Regmi, a lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney; author Alison Buckley; trade union activist Robin Mayo; Kurdish Association co-chair Brusk Aeiveri; and Ismet Tashtan.
In Melbourne World Kobanê Day was marked with a rally at the State Library organised by the Kurdish Association of Victoria and Australians for Kurdistan. A featured speaker was NTEU Victorian secretary Colin Long (also a former president of the Victorian Trades Hall Council). Other speakers included Mahmut Kahraman, Rojin Sonmez and Ozlem Sonkaya from the Kurdish community; historian, writer and Socialist Alliance member John Tully; and 3CR presenter Lalitha Chelliah. The action concluded with some vibrant traditional Kurdish dancing.