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Kurds burst into Parliament. A problem ?

(BRUSSELS2) A few hundred Kurds burst into the corridors of the European Parliament on Tuesday (7 October), the very day of the last hearing of European commissioners.

Overwhelming the few security guards who were at the entrance, they went upstairs. A joyous melee took them to the Voxbox, on the 3rd floor, the Gordian knot of all the corridors of the European Parliament, where everyone passes to go from one room to another… or to leave. Result, a great panic for the security services who blocked all the entrances, closed all the internal doors but seemed a little helpless in the face of this irruption. MEPs – from the left – especially were called to the rescue to come and parley. Very quickly, an emissary from President Schulz came to tell the demonstrators that a delegation could be received. This made it possible to disarm the occupation.

We could of course wonder about the security of the European Parliament. The dozens of (private) security guards deployed could do nothing, neither to prevent the irruption of these demonstrators, nor to prevent it. To tell the truth, they seemed quite unprepared for this event (*). Fortunately, the demonstrators' intentions were peaceful. We dare not imagine what could have happened if they had been armed.

On the other hand, we must not fall into total paranoia. And in a way, we must welcome the fact that Parliament is not a bunker but remains a house of democracy where everyone can express their views. In the end, the Kurds who had camped for several days in almost general indifference were able to mark their existence and their fight in this way. They achieved a great media coup there. Irony of history. Most of them claim to Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the PKK, a party included on the list of anti-terrorist organizations of the European Union! Certainly a nice propaganda stunt for the PKK.

(*) Without dwelling on security, we can make a few remarks on the security of Parliament, which is done “the old-fashioned way”: control of badges (scrupulous), bags (a little less), electronic airlock (when it beep, every other time you still pass), etc. Little prevention. Nobody or almost no one in front of the building, 2 meters or 10 meters away, to act as a sensor, or as a lookout or observation post. To this, add a significant turnover of staff (which means that they are incapable of recognizing the regulars of others) and an atmosphere of chiurous guards, in the mode “efficiency is measured by the arrogance of the guard” (more he growls, the more afraid we should be). Basically… a myopic check…

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).