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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-11-16

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>


Sunday, November 16, 1997

CONTENTS

  • [01] Much bravado, but protest fizzles out
  • [02] BMWs and bikes show up to send a message to the world
  • [03] Exports plummet
  • [04] Sharp rise in number of Israeli tourists
  • [05] Greens call on Blair to end Akamas exercises
  • [06] Koshis praises role of women
  • [07] Amathous dig reveals new structures, statuettes and seals
  • [08] Apollonas stumble as Omonia run riot
  • [09] Refugees mount convoy in anti-occupation protest
  • [10] Holbrooke says conference was a `success'

  • [01] Much bravado, but protest fizzles out

    By Charlie Charalambous

    THOUSANDS were expected but only hundreds came, the security forces prepared for a Dherynia-type protest but the walk home demonstration ended peacefully.A motley crew of teenagers arrived on their superbikes, an old woman drove a tractor and buses loaded with packed suitcases converged on the Nicosia buffer-zone area at Mia Milia.

    From early morning, scores of riot police and ordinary constables gathered to form the last line of defence between the free and occupied areas.

    There was an hour or so of milling around, waiting for the convoy of vehicles to snake its way from the Makarios stadium on the other side of capital.

    Until a cavalcade of some 30-odd bikers arrived, the only real activity was from local and foreign news crews pitching up cameras and satellite beams on the roof of the deserted Daihatsu showroom.

    A few sandwich vans also arrived, hoping to do brisk business in the potential war zone.

    Around 10.45am, word came that the bikers were about to arrive: the men in blue quickly filed into line and the riot shields came up.

    Horns blaring, flags flying, engines revving, the bikers arrived displaying their usual bravado, with some driving right up to police toes.

    Several minutes of ear-piercing din and the protesters on two-wheels settled down and waited for the 150-vehicle convoy.

    Preceded by a loudspeaker message - "back to our homes and villages" - the assortment of pick-up trucks, buses and four-wheel drives entered the fray at 11.05am.

    But amongst the flags and commotion, one person stood out, a 70-year-old grandmother - who reportedly has 14 relatives missing - driving a tractor.

    As soon as she approached the barricades, a spontaneous round of applause rang out for the elderly woman who was stopped in her tracks by a police car.

    But once the protesters had left their vehicles, they seemed at a loss for what to do next.

    There was a bottle-neck at the National Guard post, with a group of women demanding in vain to be allowed through.

    "We are near our homes and we can't go. I'm only one woman and I'm not afraid," Kyrenia refugee Eleni Stavrou shouted at blasé policemen.

    In the confusion, refugee Harita Mandoles managed to break through the police cordon following a scuffle with a female officer, and sobbed on the barbed wire pleading to be allowed home.

    But things got slightly more serious at 11.30, went a group of break-away demonstrators tried to cross the buffer-zone some 500 metres away from the police line.

    A unit of anti-riot officers gave chase, as did a helicopter, and two jeeps were intercepted and later confiscated from the owners. A couple in the first jeep had a young child with them.

    However, they were unable to stop two teenagers on a Yamaha superbike: they were finally apprehended by British UN peacekeepers who later handed them over to local police.

    After midday, the crowd started to filter away, no nearer to reaching Kyrenia than they were at the start of their hopeful return home.

    "We demand our human right and we will never to stop to work for freedom," said a defiant Stavrou.

    [02] BMWs and bikes show up to send a message to the world

    By Jean Christou

    THE REFUGEES showed up at Nicosia's Makarios Stadium in pick-up trucks, BMWs, lorries, coaches, motorbikes and even a tractor.

    Some of the vehicles were loaded with mattresses, chairs and tables, but it was obvious by the condition of the items that the refugees knew they really had no chance of going home.

    As they entered the stadium, police took down all names and registration numbers, while volunteers plastered the cars with anti-occupation slogans.

    They read 'Freedom or Death', and 'We demand to Return to Our Homes'.

    By 9am - when the 'Return March' had been due to leave - only a handful of people had arrived, but over the next few hours cars and motorbikes filled up the arena.

    One old man holding a flag walked up and said: "I am Andreas Loizou from Karavas and I want to go home."

    Former enclaved teacher Eleni Foka, who was also at the rally, said: "Like all refugees I just want to go home."

    But the President of the anti-occupation organisation Pak, Aris Hadjipanayiotou, promised the demonstration would be peaceful. "We are civilised people," he said.

    "The aim is for the refugees to tell the big powers, the US and all the other countries who are involved in the Cyprus problem, that the refugees will not accept a solution which will not give them back their homes."

    Independent Limassol deputy Marios Matsakis who arrived in his silver BMW 520 said that "the declaration of the Turkish pseudostate was an illegal and criminal act," but that the demonstration was not against "our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, it is against Turkey."

    "We are sending a message that we feel justice for Cyprus should be done," Matsakis said.

    He added that the Greek Cypriots wanted to live in peace with the Turkish Cypriots. "I ask them to join their voices and efforts with those of he Greek Cypriots to get all foreign troops out of Cyprus and secure a peaceful and prosperous existence in one nation."

    The convoy, which stretched to around one kilometre, left the stadium at precisely 10am for the Mia Milia checkpoint in Kaimakli, a journey which took one hour.

    It snaked slowly through the city centre streets, emptied of traffic by the police but packed with shoppers, apparently unconcerned that it was the 'TRNC's Independence Day'.

    [03] Exports plummet

    By Andrew Adamides

    TOTAL exports from Cyprus fell by 9.5 per cent during the first six moths of 1997, according to figures released on Friday by the Department of Statistics and Research.

    This took the value of the total exports down from £337.8 million in the first half of 1996 to £305.6 million in the corresponding period this year. As a result, the trade deficit has soared by over £30 million to £633 million.

    European Union countries absorbed £55.3 million of Cyprus exports, amounting to 51 per cent of the total figure, but significantly down on last year, when the EU took 61.1 per cent of the total figure. Arab countries this year took a share of 24.4 per cent, or £28.2 million, up on last year's 17 per cent or £21.1 million

    Of the exports, industrial products brought in £8.9 million and clothing and footwear £16.5 million. Exports of agricultural produce fell plummeted from £44.3 million in 1996 to £24.3 million this year.

    Imports, meanwhile, rose, costing the country £745.9 million in the January- June period, compared to £738.7 million in the same period last year.

    EU countries supplied 47 per cent of imports - to the value of £440.7 million - a small decrease on last year's 48 per cent, valued at £455.1 million.

    [04] Sharp rise in number of Israeli tourists

    THERE has been a 69 per cent rise in the number of Israeli tourists visiting the island over the summer.

    The Israeli Department of Statistics at the Ministry of Finance said 23,000 Israelis visited Cyprus over the July-August period this year.

    This is a significant increase on last year, when only 13,830 Israelis visited the island.

    In a press release, Israeli ambassador to Cyprus Shemi Tzur said that this "upward trend in the number of visitors to Cyprus is a reflection of the close relations enjoyed between Israel and Cyprus and the awareness by Israelis of Cyprus as an excellent tourist destination". He added that he was sure that in view of the increase in tourism, "other ventures in the field of commerce and business will also have high prospects for success."

    [05] Greens call on Blair to end Akamas exercises

    ENVIRONMENTALISTS and Anti-Bases activists have called for an immediate end to the British bases exercises set to begin in the Akamas today.

    The Ecological and Environmental Movement and the Committee Against the British Policy and the Military Bases in Cyprus have addressed letters to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Defence Secretary John Reid, in which they stated that the six-day exercises would take place in an "ecologically sensitive" area which is "prone to destruction, should a fire be caused by the army".

    The letters pointed out that "1,340 trees were burned so far in this area, because of British military exercises, despite (Reid's) assurances that the army tries to minimise the environmental impact".

    The committees also issued a press release, appealing to the international community to protest against the exercises in this "unique area in the Eastern Mediterranean".

    [06] Koshis praises role of women

    JUSTICE Minister Nikos Koshis has paid tribute to women's role in efforts to find a peaceful settlement to the Cyprus problem and advocated more female participation in politics.

    Speaking at the 4th Ministerial Conference in Istanbul on "Equality between women and men" on Friday. Koshis admitted, however, that there were "invisible and visible barriers" restricting women's entry to public life.

    He listed these obstacles as social, cultural and religious traditions and the structure of political parties. Koshis told delegates Cypriot women were "highly politicised" because of the division of the island.

    "Greek and Turkish Cypriot women, either as individuals or through their respective organisations, have been very active in promoting and assisting the efforts for a peaceful, just and viable solution which will effectively restore and safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms for the people of Cyprus as a whole," the minister said.

    He added that Cyprus had "achieved legal equality and a very high standard of education for women and high participation in the labour market."

    [07] Amathous dig reveals new structures, statuettes and seals

    A CO-OPERATIVE archaeological effort between volunteers from the British Bases Archaeological Society and the Department of Antiquities has drawn to a close, the Ministry of Communications announced on Friday.

    The joint efforts were for the seventh season of excavations at the lower city of Amathous. The excavations were carried out under the direction of Archaeological Museum curator Pavlos Flourentzos, assisted by Demos Theodorou and Andreas Kattos of the technical staff of the Antiquities department.

    This year's Amathous dig aimed further to uncover the public building found during previous campaigns and concentrated on the western, north western and southern sides of the public building.

    On the western side, a broad room, partly uncovered last year, was completely excavated. An entrance to this measuring 1.3 metres was found at the northern side of the room. This is thought to be the external northern entrance to the public building, and it is now certain that this room marks the limits of the building complex on this side.

    To the northwest, the excavations turned up a pair of passages connecting the public building to another, smaller, seven-room complex. One of the passages, which has a maximum width of 2.3 metres, has an earthen floor, although it is thought to have once been paved.

    The newly-discovered building complex includes one room with a bench on the western side divided into 35-60 centimetre widths. Its boundaries on the northern side include an entrance originally of two metres. This is thought to have been reconstructed at a one metre width after earthquakes in the fourth century AD, and was then sealed at the time of the building's destruction. Four steps were found nearby, which would have originally lead to rooms built on a higher level.

    To the east, two unconnected rooms were excavated, one of which was paved, and contained the upper part of a granite column, used as a stool.

    In a southern direction, another large open area was discovered, which is thought to form a southern external courtyard as it includes a sewage well, found during a previous campaign.

    Movable finds netted by the archaeologists included pottery, copper Byzantine coins, lamps, stone statuette heads, inscribed shards, a stone mortar and stone seals. Among the latter was a prominent circular seal bearing the figure of a standing saint surrounded by an inscription and engraved solar disc.

    [08] Apollonas stumble as Omonia run riot

    By George Christou

    SECOND-PLACED Apollonas dropped their first home points yesterday when they were held to a goalless draw by Ael in the Limassol derby.

    They are now two points behind league leaders Anorthosis who play Apop at Antonis Papadopoulos stadium today. Omonia moved to within one point of Apollonas after an 8-0 mauling of Alki, who sank to the bottom of the table.

    Ashia took their first ever point in the first division and moved out of bottom place, thanks to a 2-2 draw against Evagoras in Paphos.

    Apoel, missing eight first team regulars, sank to their second successive defeat in Achna where they lost 2-0 to Ethnikos. The win took Ethnikos above Apoel, into fifth place in the table.

    Aek moved to fourth place after an emphatic 5-1 victory over Paralimni in which Brazilian Toinze scored a hat-trick. Finally in Dherynia, Anagennisis scored their second win of the season, beating Salamina 2-0.

    Rarely are goalless draws as exciting as the one played in Limassol, in which the number of scoring chances was very high. Apollonas had most of them, but Ael created enough to have sneaked a goal and taken the points.

    Omonia were in devastating form as they recorded their fifth successive win to move to within three points of leaders Anorthosis. It was their third high scoring win in the last four games which have seen them beat Salamina 6-1 and Anagennisis 7-0.

    Xiouroupas opened the scoring in his first start of the season for Omonia with a 16th minute header and Ioakim added a second in the 36th.

    In the second half the home side ran riot. German striker Raufman completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute and in the dying seconds added a fourth goal which took him to top of the scorers' table with nine.

    Fellow countryman Hoffman and Kaiaphas also scored with Alki in complete disarray. Alki now have one point from eight matches, and yesterday's collapse was not a very positive sign.

    In Achna, two goals in the first 20 minutes buried Apoel whose title hopes are becoming remoter by the week. Yesterday Apoel were not able to blame the referee for their defeat, but their sloppy defending and the absence of key players.

    Ethnikos scored twice from their first two counter-attacks. Pashalis put them in front after four minutes and then set up the easiest of chances for Mousic to convert. Mousic is the league's joint top scorer with Raufman.

    Fans in Larnaca may have felt a sense of déjà vu, when on the stroke of half-time Pitiris pulled a goal back for Paralimni who had been trailing to goals by Toinze and Theodotou.

    In their previous two games, Aek had squandered two-goal leads and settled for draws. Had they won those two games Aek would have been in second place rather than fourth.

    They did not commit the same mistake a third time. Toinze got his first hat- trick for the club, while another Brazilian, Paolinho scored Aek's fifth. Bizic also missed a penalty for Paralimni.

    Ara Petrosian set Anagennisis on the way to their second victory of the season against Salamina. Thoma added the second two minutes before the end to inflict Salamina's fourth defeat of the season.

    Evagoras, playing at home had to settle for their fourth draw of the campaign against Ashia, who had been put ahead by Demetriou and Satchias. Pachtalias scored for Evagoras.

    [09] Refugees mount convoy in anti-occupation protest

    By Martin Hellicar

    HUNDREDS of Greek Cypriots protested against the Turkish occupation yesterday on the 14th anniversary of the proclamation of the illegal `TRNC'.

    The protest, in which refugees demanded the right to return to the homes from which they had been driven in 1974, passed off without serious incident.

    A foray into the buffer-zone by a handful of protesters was swiftly blocked by police who mounted a draconian security operation to avert the demonstrators' stated aim of crossing into the north.

    Six people were arrested but no clashes or injuries were reported.

    Protesters in a convoy of about 200 cars and motorbikes converged on the Mia Milia checkpoint in Nicosia at around 11am, meeting up with a large flag-waving crowd already gathered there. They were confronted by lines of police and riot squad (MMAD) officers and barbed-wire barricades blocking access to the buffer-zone.

    Most of the demonstrators were noisy but peaceful, making no effort to push through the police cordons.

    However, two youths on a motorbike managed to break into the buffer-zone some 500 metres east of the police line. Two jeeps, one of them with a young child on board, also managed to follow the motorbike.

    The motorbike was intercepted by UN soldiers posted behind the police lines. Rider and passenger were handed over to police.

    The jeeps were pursued and surrounded by MMAD officers, some of whom were dropped into the buffer-zone by a police helicopter.

    The crowd dispersed around midday after protest organisers handed an Unficyp officer a petition which demanded that refugees be allowed to return to their homes and condemned the Turkish Cypriot side's unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) 14 years ago yesterday.

    Meanwhile, motorcyclists had begun a protest ride to Nicosia from Paralimni after attending a morning memorial there to Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou - killed by Turks during an anti-occupation protest at Dherynia last summer. About 250 bikers roared into Eleftheria Square just before 3pm to join a crowd hundreds strong in an anti-UDI rally.

    After the rally some bikers headed off towards the barbed-wire barricades police had set up across roads to prevent protesters approaching the Ledra Palace check-point, but no clashes were reported with police manning the blockades.

    Police made a total of six arrests, including the two young bikers who entered the buffer-zone. They did not release the names of those apprehended or state whether they would be charged.

    UN spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski said peacekeeping forces had been "on the highest level of alert" all day and would remain deployed in the buffer zone until tomorrow as a precautionary measure.

    Anti-UDI demos were also staged in Greece and by the Cypriot community in Britain.

    In the occupied north, the anniversary was marked with a military parade in Nicosia attended by Turkish deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who ordered the 1974 invasion, and by Turkish Chief of Staff, Ismail Karadayi.

    "There are those who cannot digest your freedom but they will get used to this because the TRNC is an irreversible reality," Ecevit told a crowd waving `TRNC' and Turkish flags.

    [10] Holbrooke says conference was a `success'

    By Andrew Adamides

    US EMISSARY for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke hailed a bicommunal business conference in Brussels as a "success" yesterday, saying some 50 proposals had been submitted by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    Holbrooke said the proposals would help both communities promote a Cyprus solution through economic co-operation.

    He also expressed satisfaction with the results of his recent meetings with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash and hinted that he might make a further visit to the island.

    Greek Cypriot entrepreneur Phanos Epiphanou, who attended the conference, said the proposals could be divided into two broad categories: those which businesspeople could implement without the aid of politicians, and those for which political intervention would be necessary.

    The most important development to emerge, he said, was a proposal to establish a bicommunal forum to follow through joint economic decisions made by businesspeople.

    Also important, he said, was the decision to upgrade the United Nations telephone centre in Nicosia, which maintains a communications link between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    The issues of irrigation and water management were also discussed in Brussels.

    In addition, it was agreed that there should be co-operation on the sporting and cultural fronts, with exchange visits between Greek and Turkish Cypriot athletes and the holding of joint art exhibitions.

    White House spokesman Mike McCurry said the conference was an "opportunity to bring together people interested in the economic future of the island".

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1997

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