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World IN BRIEF / ITALY

Kurds in Rome Decry Rebel Chief's Arrest

November 15, 1998|From Times Wire Reports

Hundreds of Kurds marched through Rome to protest the arrest of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan, while Italian politicians grappled with whether to grant political asylum to Turkey's most wanted man. About 1,500 Kurdish men, women and children, including many who came from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, paraded through the streets, chanting "Free Ocalan" and waving photographs of the Kurdistan Workers Party leader, who was arrested in Rome on Thursday. Turkey, which holds Ocalan responsible for the deaths of thousands in the 14-year fight for Kurdish independence, has lodged a request with Italian authorities for his extradition. Meanwhile, Ocalan filed a request for political asylum with Italy's Interior Ministry, a ministry spokesman said. Many senior figures in Italy's new center-left government have said that Italy should grant Ocalan asylum.

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