Thousands of Kurds marched through Strasbourg on Saturday to demand the release of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and to protest against Turkey's military campaign in the region of Afrin.

Protesters from all over Europe walked under rain and snow, chanting and holding banners that read “Freedom for Ocalan” as the anniversary of his 19th year in detention was held two days earlier.

The Turkish military started launching airstrikes and rockets on Kurdish positions in Afrin shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the launch of the military operation dubbed Olive Branch. The Turkish President also declared that the next destination for Turkish forces would be Syria's Manbij.

Turkey views the People's Protection Units (YPG), which is active in northern Syria, as an extension of the banned militant group Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Abdullah Ocalan founded the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 1978 and was arrested in February 1999 in Nairobi, Kenya and handed over to Turkish special forces.

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