Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Rome on Saturday to rally against the ongoing Turkish military operation in Afrin and call for the release of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Several protesters deemed the military campaign as an act of terror, with one saying, "We’re here to stop the fascist and terrorist attack of Turkey on Afrin."

The march also took a stance against rising fascism and anti-migrant terror in Italy as one protester said, "Staying with this resistance means resisting this system that is killing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and is creating a climate of terror."

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. He has been jailed on an island prison in Turkey since 1999. Following a campaign by pro-Kurdish associations in Italy, he gained honorary citizenship in several Italian cities including Naples and Palermo.

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.

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