Protesters have blocked the tracks at Manchester Piccadilly station in a statement of opposition to the Turkish government.
Over 100 protestors lined the tracks causing major delays and disruption to trains and passengers. Lines from Leeds to Manchester airport were particularly affected after the protest began at around 1pm today.
Several passengers were forced to redirect their route via Stockport, creating a huge backlog of travellers wishing to return to London Euston as quickly as possible.
Participants of the protest were seen holding banners with ‘Stop Turkey’ scribed across them. Children and babies were also spotted protesting alongside their parents, who were handing out leaflets with ‘Stop Turkey’s war crimes and crimes against humanity’ heading further information about the crisis in the region.
Those involved in the protest have said that they are hoping to raise awareness about the Turkish attacks on the Afrin district, which is currently under Kurdish hold.
The need for action was sparked after a specific event two months ago where Turkey launched an offensive against the YPG – a move that has been described by some as ethnic cleansing.
These actions have sparked international outrage as the US-backed YPG are widely recognised as a vital force in the fight against ISIS.
The YPG, or Kurdish People’s Protection Unit, is considered a terrorist group by the Turkish government as it exists as the primary component in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria’s Syrian Democratic Forces.
The group first gained US support in 2015 after they won a major victory over the Islamic State. US contributions mainly came in the form of air and ground support, although other coalition nations also provided aid to the group.
The YPG are commonly referred to by Western sources as the most effective group in the fight against ISIS. Thus, when the Turkish government initiated the militia attack against the group in January 2018, protests erupted across the globe.
In terms of the current Manchester protest, officials have said to expect delays of at least 60 minutes whilst they try to calm the situation. The protest’s organisers, Friends of Kurdistan – Manchester, released this statement explaining their actions.