Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

About 6 or 7 vans, loads of police piled out and marched to the Kurdish centre. No idea what's going on, can hear chanting.

Tags for Forum Posts: kurdish community centre, portland gardens, territorial support group

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Thanks for this update. Good for them for filing a lawsuit. I think some of us residents nearby would support that as it was very frightening to have those vans speed down our street and all of those hyped up territorials pile out and march down the street as if going into battle. Word on the street that night was that a flag was involved. 

on the few occasions I’ve visited, the only flag I’ve seen is the flag of Kurdistan.

What’s visible on the video is a banner with a slogan referring to the imprisonment of the founding member of the PKK. Not sure if that was the reason for the raid but could be a clue. 

…and another one which is used as slogan by Kurdish youth. As seen in the image above which was found on the internet and not taken locally* above as found online . Feel free to google these.

*italicised text added by site admin

The red and yellow ones are the PKK flag (a proscribed terrorist organisation - like Hamas).

The picture with red and yellow flags was certainly not taken in in Harringay or anywhere near the Portland Gardens centre. It looks like it was taken in Whitehall somewhere. 

"Werin cenga azadiye" means "Come to the freedom struggle".  As far as I understand the issues, it is a slogan of the "Long March", an initiative traditionally carried out by the Kurdish youth movement in February calling for the release of PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan, who was captured by Turkish forces in Kenya and taken to Turkey on 15 February 1999, and for an end to the occupation of Kurdistan. 

The UK Government proscribed the PKK under the Terrorism Act 2000. Proscription makes it a criminal offence to belong to or express opinions in sympathy with the organisation. So, I suppose the display of any slogan seen to support the PKK and any PKK flag would be deemed to have been a criminal offence.

We should be very very wary of pretending that our superficial and very filtered understanding of the situation for Kurdish people and any Kurdish organisations makes it possible for us to make balanced judgements about what the slogan means for Kurdish youth in London. Despite having made some effort to understand the situation in Kurdistan a little better, I'm not sure I've succeeded. It's not easy to find much non-partisan coverage.

What we do probably know, however, is that the huge police presence in Portland Gardens recently seems to have been massively out of proportion for anything that was required. 

Agreed. To note the event was a celebration of the 45th anniversary of the PKK as reported by Kurdish-centric media here

I’m all for a balanced take on the issue but the organisers would have done well to be transparent about the nature of the event. Calling it a peaceful gathering doesn’t substantively address what was taking place and likely erodes the credibility of the organisers/hosts. Obviously if there wasn’t a warrant or a legal basis for the police presence they are entirely in their right to challenge. 

Let’s also note that we can only guess at the significance of the event for those who attended. As likely an explanation as any for the vast majority of the attendees was that it was an expression of Kurdish identity and nationalism and not the (now redacted) “call to arms” you had earlier claimed it was. We need to be very careful about and be much better informed before, casually using such incendiary claims.

I'm glad that despite all the recent scandals in which the police are implicated your faith in them is so complete. Evidence, however, suggests that there was no good reason for such a display of force. 

While I agree with the disproportionate show of force I’m not sure any of my comments were particularly as you say ‘incendiary’ or made casually.

The second flag for example states, word for word: “Come to the liberation war” and has an image of a man deploying a drone, some kind of IED and the flag of the People’s Defense Forces - the military wing of the PKK. It’s pretty unambiguous. I can’t speak for the characters, motivations or how the individuals in attendance wish to celebrate their national identity but I think this needs to be taken as  (if not more) seriously than perceived casual comments on a forum. 

Actually, it’s not in the least unambiguous. The translation, I found gave “Come to the freedom struggle”. it’s amazing, what ‘facts’ you can present with a little bit of bias and the following wind. Even if you go for the war translation, there are wars and wars. For example in the UK we’ve had the war on drugs and the war on want.

They left empty handed - not really a sign of solid grounds.

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