Dozens of Kurdish demonstrators burst into the European parliament in Brussels on Tuesday to protest the Islamic State group’s attack on the town of Kobane on Syria’s border with Turkey.
Brandishing Kurdish flags and effigies of their jailed separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, the men and women broke through a police barrier to enter the hall of the building.
They staged a sit-in while several European members of parliament came to meet with them.
“We will fight Islamic State,” the head of the socialist group in parliament, Gianni Pittella, told the protesters, drawing applause.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said he met with the group’s leaders and told them to end their protest peacefully.
But he also told them he fully shared their concerns about the situation for civilians in Kobane as well as that more broadly in Syria and Iraq.
“I reiterated the support of the European Parliament for the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq,” he said.
He promised to convey their message to NATO.
Turkey warned Tuesday that the Islamic State was on the verge of seizing Kobane even as US and Arab warplanes launched fresh strikes on IS positions near Syria’s third largest Kurdish town.
The Kurdish protest in what is supposed to be a secure area occurred while confirmation hearings were taking place for the new team headed by incoming European Commission chief Jean Claude Juncker.
The parliament’s security services said they would open a probe into the incident.