Thousands of Turks gather in Paris to protest genocide bill

PARIS – Anatolia News Agency

Thousands of people gathered in the French capital to protest a bill that penalizes rejection of Armenian genocide claims today.

Nearly 35,000 Turks living in France and other European countries gathered despite rain and cold weather to shun the bill .

The bill is seto to come to the French Senate floor Monday Jan. 23 when members of the Senate could vote to uphold a parliamentary committee decision against the proposed law and drop the bill without debate.

Protesters carried French, Turkish, Algerian and Azerbaijani flags and chanted slogans urging senator to act against the legislation.

“I have been living in France for fifty years and I haven’t seen so many Turks got together. Turks in Europe for the first time had the chance to raise a strong voice against an injustice done to them,” Demir Önger, head of a Paris-based Turkish culture association said.

A bill proposed by the ruling party penalizes the rejection of Armenian genocide claims in France with a 45,000 euro fine a and one year in jail.

A similar bill — proposed by the Socialist Party — was approved in 2006 by the lower house but the Senate rejected to debate the bill in May 2011.

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