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Mehmet march stops the traffic

Mourners take to the streets in memory of Kurdish activisit killed by Islamic State

17 November, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Mourners holding pictures of popular Kurdish activist Mehmet Aksoy make their way along Holloway Road ahead of Friday’s funeral service

TRAFFIC on Holloway Road was brought to a standstill on Friday as hundreds of mourners marched with the coffin of a popular Kurdish activist who was killed by Islamic State.

Mehmet Aksoy, 32, had only been in Raqqa, Syria, for two months documenting the battles between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and jihadi militants Islamic State when his unit was ambushed and he was killed in September.

The former film student at Goldsmiths university in south London was a regular at the Kurdish Community Centre, off Green Lanes, where a ceremony was held in his honour before the procession to the cemetery.

“The words that could describe the richness of Mehmet’s life have yet to be created,” Kurdish activist Dilar Dirik told the large crowd at the community centre. Hundreds were unable to get in and had to watch on a giant screen placed outside its doors.

“In Europe, he did not rest until everybody he knew was aware of the struggles in Kurdistan. He had turned London upside down to tell everyone about the war and the revolution of Rojava,” she added.

Rojava is an autonomous region in northern Syria which is predominantly Kurdish and is under constant attack by Islamic State.

Ms Dirik told the crowd: “Mehmet knew revolution was above all a war on the lack of love and solidarity for those who suffer the most.

“He knew how to protect his culture, identity, existence while being a complete internationalist who viewed struggles across the world as his own.”

Kurdish forces captured Raqqa just days after Mr Aksoy’s death.


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