NEWS
11/03/2018 15:39 GMT | Updated 11/03/2018 21:14 GMT

Major Rail Delays As Protestors Bring London King's Cross And Manchester Piccadilly Stations To Standstill

Demonstrations led by Kurdish activists.

Train passengers faced hours of disruption after protesters stormed the tracks at Manchester Piccadilly railway station and London King’s Cross was forced to close by demonstrators.

All lines in an out of Manchester Piccadilly were suspended as a result of the first demo involving about 100 protesters, which began around 1pm. 

The protest was thought to be in response to the Turkish war on Syrian Kurds, with protestors holding a sign reading: “Stop Turkey from helping ISIS terrorists”.

King’s Cross station was later paralysed following another incident at about 5.30pm on Sunday after dozens of protesters gathered outside.

In Manchester, National Rail initially warned that trains may be “amended, cancelled or delayed” by up to 90 minutes - but later said disruption was expected “until the end of the day”.

Similar events took place across Europe as part of a national day of action in support of Afrin, the besieged Syrian city which Kurds claim is being “ethnically cleansed” by the Turkish military. Another protest was held at Düsseldorf airport on Sunday.

In London, National Rail said trains were able to depart from the station, but services were revised and diverted as passengers were unable to access the platforms.

Transport for London said that the Victoria, Northern, Piccadilly, Hammersmith and City and Circle lines are all affected.

Rail bosses at around 8.15pm said services at one of London’s biggest transport hubs had returned to normal.

In a statement about the incident in London, National Rail said: “Police have successfully dealt with the incident outside the station at London King’s Cross and the station has now been reopened.

“Trains continue to be able to arrive and depart from this station as normal and customers are now able to access the platforms.

“However, as some train services have been revised and diverted, trains to and from King’s Cross may still be delayed or revised as the service recovers.”

Superintendent Mark Cleland from British Transport Police said: “While we appreciate and respect the right to peaceful protest, when this compromises the safety of the public and the protesters themselves, any offenders will attract the full investigative resources of BTP.

“Those involved in this afternoon’s incident will be subject to intense investigation with a view to arrest and prosecution.

“All protesters at Manchester Piccadilly have now been safely moved from the tracks and the station has reopened.

“We will continue to maintain a police presence at this station and at other stations across the rail network.”

In a statement on Facebook, the group Friends of Kurdistan Manchester said: “The Kurdish community and its allies are marching in Manchester, and across the world, in solidarity with the defenders of Afrin and demanding international intervention.

“Turkey is the second-largest army in Nato and his forces have committed numerous war crimes since crossing the border into Afrin.”