On Friday, three people were killed when a gunman attacked a Kurdish cultural centre and a nearby Kurdish cafe in central Paris.
According to Reuters, all three of those who died were Kurdish and three others were wounded, one with life-threatening injuries. The incident prompted violent protests in nearby streets as night fell.
Riot police fired teargas to drive back an angry crowd gathered a short distance from the scene of the shootings as projectiles were thrown at officers, rubbish bins and restaurant tables overturned, and cars damaged.
Reuters reported that multiple gunshots were fired on Rue d’Enghien at about midday, creating panic on a street lined with small shops and cafes in the French capital’s busy 10th district.
French President Emmanuel Macron said France’s Kurdish community had been the target of a heinous attack. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the suspected assailant had clearly wanted to target foreigners.
As per French authorities, they had arrested a 69-year-old man, who Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said had recently been freed from detention while awaiting trial for a sabre attack on a migrant camp in Paris a year ago. He was convicted in June of committing violent acts with a weapon in 2016 and had lodged an appeal.
Kurdish leaders called for better protection for their community, a theme for Kurds in France since the high profile killings of three Kurdish women a decade ago.
“Kurds, wherever they live, should be able to live in peace and security,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter. “Now more than ever, Paris is by their side in these dark times.”