The latest terrorist killings to rock France as tensions grow centered on the country's firm free speech traditions as a secular republic vs. Muslim immigrant outrage over negative depictions of Muhammad in French media have grabbed international headlines, but other disturbing trends which have received much less attention suggest the violence looks to grow.
This week there have been reports of clashes between Turkish-Azeri demonstrators and Armenians on the streets of France. On Wednesday multiple videos circulated widely on social media which appear to show Muslim Turks and Azeris "hunting down" Armenian Christians as the war in Nagorno-Karabakh spills over onto the streets of Europe.
Imagine they were yelling, “Where are you Jews?”— Alison Meuse (@AliTahmizian) October 28, 2020
Imagine they were yelling, “Where are you Blacks?” https://t.co/pKAKBVLjqA
Some other European cities have also witnessed rising tensions between Turkish and Armenian neighborhoods related to conflict in the Caucasus.
Turkey is of course a close ally of Azerbaijan in the current fighting against Armenia in the breakaway Karabakh border region. Armenians as an ethnic group have also long been targets of Turkish hatred going all the way back to the Armenian Genocide of the early 20th century.
Another video of a Turkish anti-Armenian mob in France. pic.twitter.com/6eQCevfat0— William Bairamian (@Bairamian) October 28, 2020
Here's how The Independent describes the below video from Lyon, France:
In one video shared by an independent Armenian outlet, people can be seen marching in Lyon with Turkish flags and chanting the phrase "allahu akbar", meaning "God is the greatest".
In the same piece of footage, a man can be heard saying in French: “Where are you Armenians? Where are you? We are here… sons of b*****s”.
Non, mais regardez ce qui se passe à Décines. Des fascistes turcs sèment la terreur dans les quartiers arméniens. La France va très mal.pic.twitter.com/LrPm7QD1L4— Bahar Kimyongür (@Kimyongur) October 28, 2020
The Independent said the videos appear to confirm the angry demonstrators were "looking for Armenians".
The mob reportedly formed after a pro-Armenia demonstration blocked a motorway connecting Lyon and Marseille on Wednesday morning.
The Armenian demonstration broke out into violence after Turkish nationalists reportedly tried to disrupt the rally. Clashes resulted in at least four injured, which French police are said to be investigating.
Below shows an angry mob in Vienne, France, a commune about 20 miles south of Lyon:
Ça soir, à #Vienne, des #Turcs mènent une expédition punitive à la recherche d’#Armeniens, dans la ville.— Commissaires de police - SICP (@SICPCommissaire) October 28, 2020
Ils croisent et agressent un équipage de la @PoliceNat38.
Nos collègues ont encore fait preuve de sang-froid et de courage face à 150 individus surexcités.#confinement pic.twitter.com/WYizppJHwk
France’s Independent Union of Police Commissioners said in a tweet that over 150 people had engaged in a "punitive expedition in search of Armenians" in Vienne.
Turkish flags could be seen and nationalist chants heard, as well as anti-Armenian slogans amid the mayhem, which appeared to have eventually been broken up by police.