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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 02-04-20

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, April 20, 2002


  • [01] Bitter recriminations over embassy violence
  • [02] Talks to resume next Friday
  • [03] Bankers get stuck in for charity
  • [04] Turks lobby outside CTO offices in London
  • [05] Celebrating the earth
  • [06] Minister stresses commitment to solving gypsy problems
  • [07] 'Ship of Kyrenia' will carry bronze for Athens medals
  • [08] Shots fired in arrest of illegal immigrants

  • [01] Bitter recriminations over embassy violence

    By George Psyllides

    WHILE the government was assessing the costs of the actions of around 300 protesters who succeeded in ruining Thursday's reception at the Israeli ambassador's residence to mark Israel's 54th anniversary, the organisers of the demonstration yesterday blamed the trouble solely on the police and a handful of provocateurs who had infiltrated the crowd.

    Four demonstrators were arrested and released after being charged.

    The trouble started when police tried to open a path for guests who arrived at the function on foot.

    At that point, a protester attacked and hit Nicosia Police Director Nicos Theodorides who needed treatment in hospital.

    The crowd formed a chain in front of the three access roads to the ambassador's home, aiming at obstructing anyone from reaching it.

    But yesterday, one of the protagonists of the demonstration, AKEL deputy Eleni Mavrou, said that the protesters, despite blocking the roads, had not obstructed anyone trying to get through or harassed those attempting to do so.

    Mavrou blamed police for the violence, saying the demo had been peaceful until police were apparently given instructions to disperse the crowd.

    "I understand that police were given instructions to facilitate passage of the guests but from a point onwards it was clear that these instructions had changed and I wonder who had the bright idea," Mavrou said.

    Theodorides, however, countered that no instructions had been given to officers to use force and revealed that police had asked guests to delay their arrival until they managed to agree with the crowd to give way and allow those who wanted to attend the function to pass the block.

    Theodorides said he was discussing the matter with Green deputy George Perdikis when he was attacked and hit on the head.

    Concerning the charges levelled by Mavrou, Theodorides was blunt: "I'm sorry but she should consider who urged the demonstrators to form a chain in front of the barbed wire, and who was part of the chain, which was preventing guests from reaching the ambassador's house."

    Mavrou was in fact a part of the chain and at some point engaged in a shouting match with officers who had just arrested a man she claimed had done nothing and was standing next to her in the chain.

    The representative of the committee which organised the demo, Doros Michail, said the trouble had been caused by police brutality when they tried to disperse the crowd.

    "Police hit, hurt, and arrested innocent and peaceful demonstrators," Michail said.

    He added that the trouble had been caused by a small number of demonstrators who had nothing to do with the organisers.

    "The fact that a handful of demonstrators provoked the police cannot be an excuse for the excess force used by them," he said.

    Perdikis, who on Thursday night was involved in pushing and shoving with police, also lay the blame on the authorities.

    He said officers had acted like amateurs, adding that everything that happened burdened the police on both political and operational levels.

    "Cypriot police are not trained to handle such situations," Perdikis said.

    "I condemn the trouble and feel sorrow for the injury of the police director, but police made mistakes and operated without professionalism, resulting in the escalation of the violence," he said.

    He said the majority of the demonstrators did not use force, apart from a small of group of around six people who had been spotted from the beginning. Efforts had been made to isolate them, he added.

    "One of them hit Theodorides while I was talking with him and from then on the police were infuriated and behaved like a bull in a china shop," Perdikis said.

    But Police Chief Andreas Angelides yesterday lashed out against the critics, saying that no one had the right to attack officers just because they were doing their duty of trying to allow free passage to all those wishing to attend the reception.

    "And Mr. Perdikis and anyone else had no right to prevent them," Angelides said.

    Angelides said officers did their jobs well and it was deputies who should have done a better job of demonstrating.

    "They blocked all three roads and did not allow anyone through; all those who got through did so because the police helped," he said.

    Angelides in turn charged that the organisers were not in a position to control the demo and urged them not to arrange such protests if they could not handle them.

    "The Republic's roads should remain open for those who wanted to attend; the fact that they blocked the access shows that it cold not be a peaceful demo," Angelides said.

    "I feel sorry for Mr. Perdikis and the way he reacted; he should have looked at himself first before criticising the police," he added.

    The government yesterday condemned the attacks against the police and extended its apologies to the diplomats for the treatment they received from the demonstrators.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said police had not used excessive force but had exhibited self-restraint during the demo.

    The Spokesman had a word of two for the deputies who took part in the demo.

    "All these are unacceptable phenomena and become even more unacceptable when in a few instances, these few troublemakers had the encouragement of people who should have been more careful due to the positions they hold," Papapetrou said.

    Papapetrou added that it was anyone's inalienable right to protest, within the framework of the law, but it was also anyone's right to attend a reception if they wished.

    The spokesman said police had showed self-restraint during the demo.

    Papapetrou said that the government had been represented at the reception by the Foreign Ministry's Permanent Secretary Michalis Passiardis, a decision which carried several political messages.

    DIKO Chairman Tasos Papadopoulos commented that police had acted with self- restraint and tried to secure the democratic right of citizens to attend the reception, while other citizens had the right to protest peacefully against Israel's actions against the Palestinians.

    The Chairman of KISOS, Yiannakis Omirou, said police had been over-zealous in dealing with the demonstrators, conceding, however, that there could have been provocation.

    Omirou said police violence was not justified and criticised authorities for detaining an injured member of his party for two-and-a-half hours before he was taken to hospital for treatment.

    AKEL's reaction was somewhat subdued, though the police were again criticised.

    Party Spokesman Nicos Katsourides said the police handling of the demo should have been different and that in such cases they should have displayed the greatest possible calm and self-restraint.

    Katsourides added that the Israelis should have avoided celebrating in the way they did.

    For its part, the Israeli embassy said on Thursday night it was dissatisfied by the trouble.

    Today, the embassy issued an announcement thanking all those who tried to attend the reception but had been unable or prevented from doing so.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [02] Talks to resume next Friday

    By a Staff Reporter

    PRESIDENT Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will resume their direct talks next Friday, after UN special envoy Alvaro de Soto returns from a series of European contacts next week.

    The two leaders met again yesterday, talking for an hour and a half at Nicosia airport.

    De Soto flies out of Cyprus today and travels to London, Brussels and Madrid with his advisers in order to discuss the Cyprus problem with European Union officials. He returns to Cyprus next Thursday.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday the two sides continued to discuss the issues laid out by UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan.

    Asked whether the two leaders had recorded their positions and defined what they had so far agreed on, as well as the possibility of a compromise solution, Papapetrou said: "We are discussing issues that have been publicly outlined in the past by the UN Secretary-general, in other words finding a solution to the entire Cyprus problem, and not a half-way solution or the recording of each sides' position."

    Papapetrou said that the next meeting of the third round of talks would take place next Friday at 10am. There would be one more meeting on Monday April 29 before the Easter break, he said, and the process would resume on Tuesday May 7.

    De Soto is due to travel to New York during the Easter recess.

    Meanwhile, a delegation of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) was reported in the north yesterday as saying a solution to the Cyprus problem by June would greatly facilitate Turkey's own EU aspirations.

    The delegation of businessmen were in the occupied areas to discuss the Cyprus problem with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    But Denktash told the delegation that he believed Cyprus was "important for the motherland and is a historical place with geopolitical importance, which should not be abandoned." He insisted he was following a policy that did not harm Turkey in any way.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [03] Bankers get stuck in for charity

    By Alexia Saoulli

    IF YOU'RE stuck for a place to eat this Sunday then you're in luck because the Bank of

    Cyprus is hosting 20 different types of food stalls at its annual charity bazaar, meeting the needs of even the pickiest eater.

    BoC General Manager of Support Services, Antonis Jacouris, is just one of 20 enthusiastic members that will be cooking Tikka chicken kebabs at their food stall.

    "This is not a personal promotion for any one employee," he told the Cyprus Mail. "The work is based on teamwork and is a group effort, involving a lot of very enthusiastic and caring individuals."

    The 54-year-old said the event would be a fun day out for all involved, including the actual kebab makers.

    "Our stall is made up of people from all different grades in the bank," he said, stressing that on the day everyone was on a first-name basis.

    "Everyone is just Antonis, Maria, Elena and Charalambos for instance. Rank doesn't come into the picture at all. It is just one big, happy, relaxed atmosphere where we have a lot of fun."

    There are 20 people from all grades in the bank involved in this particular stall. No one has been forced. It's all voluntary. Everyone wants to help.

    "This is the second year our team has a stall," he said. "Last year we served Chinese kebabs and this year we decided to go Indian. We are having chicken tikka in pitta bread with masala sauce. For anyone fasting, we'll have oriental mushrooms in a pitta with sauce and salad," Jacouris said, adding the quality of their food was first-class.

    "Our team knows what it's doing," he insisted. "The food is tasty and we insist on quality because we want people to come back for more year after year."

    But the fact that fact that half the team is made up of women must be a help, particularly since Jacouris pointed out they had help in the preparation of the food and his wife had guided and helped them last year.

    He said everyone had been very moved by the public's response to their efforts and that most of the food products had been either donated for free or sold to them at very discounted prices.

    The price of one pitta at the stall is 2, and they have already pre-sold 800 of them to bank employees.

    "We are hoping to sell a total of 1,500 pittas. Last year, we sold around 1, 300 and then ran out, so we decided to add an extra 200 this time," he said.

    The Bazaar will be held at the BoC Headquarter grounds in Ayia Paraskevi in Nicosia between 11am-5pm, he said.

    There will be 46 stalls and at least 20 of them will be food stalls, including homemade deserts, Chinese food, burgers, Cypriot kebabs, pizzas etc.

    Other stalls include games for children, basketball, puppet shows, trampolines, bookstalls, Easter candles, lucky number gambling and a toy stall. There will also be a choir, said Jacouris

    All the money will go towards the annual Christodoula march, which raises money for the anti-cancer society.

    "In fact, the march is also taking place on Sunday at 9.30am," he said. "It should end by 10.30am-11am and all the hungry walkers will end up here and join in the fun."

    This is a yearly event arranged by the BoC, which includes collecting donations from the public at traffic lights, donations from the bank's important clients, the bazaar and the sponsored Christodoula march.

    "Everyone is willing to support and help in this worthwhile cause," he said, "which is why we managed to amass just under 800,000 last year."

    Jacouris said it was far from embarrassing appearing as kebab makers once a year, even though they were all professional bankers.

    "On the contrary, this is our way of showing that we are not just all words and to put our money where our mouth is. We can't expect to just talk and expect everyone else to do everything," he said. "We want to get involved and help out."

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [04] Turks lobby outside CTO offices in London

    By a Staff Reporter

    TURKISH expatriates living in England have launched a negative PR campaign against Cyprus, advising Britons to reconsider visiting the south of the island.

    Earlier this week, a group of Turks and Turkish Cypriots were reported handing out leaflets to passers-by outside the offices of the CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organisation) in London, warning aspiring tourists that they would effectively be visiting a crime site.

    "Thinking of visiting southern Cyprus? Think again!" read the leaflets, going on to caution that "the hotel or house you will be staying in has probably been built over mass graves of Turkish Cypriots murdered by Greek- Cypriots between 1963-74."

    Pictured on the leaflets is a group of Turkish Cypriot children who, it is claimed, disappeared in August 1974 "during an armed attack by Greek Cypriots". The leaflet adds that over 500 Turkish Cypriot civilian men, women and children have been missing since 1963.

    The case was brought to light by DISY deputy Nicos Tornaritis, who has informed both the Foreign Ministry and the CTO. Reportedly the government took immediate action, contacting police authorities in London, which said that the Turkish Cypriots' activities were legal and did not disrupt law and order.

    The CTO dismissed this as a smear campaign, pointing out that the leaflets made no mention of the 1974 Turkish invasion and its consequences on the Greek Cypriot population.

    Similar actions by Turkish expatriates in London have taken place in the past, again outside the CTO's premises.

    Reservations by British tourists in Cyprus have been projected at 20-23 per cent lower than last year, attributed mostly to the impact of the 11 September terror attacks in New York and Washington.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [05] Celebrating the earth

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE MONTESSORI Center in Nicosia will be celebrating International Earth Day tomorrow with a host of events raising awareness about the environment.

    Recycle racing, can crushing, art from garbage, bake sales and plays will be some of the activities held on the day from 2 to 7pm.

    Among the organisations sponsoring the event are: the Green Party, the Cyprus Conservation Organisation, the Water Department, Minas Recycling, the Electricity Authority and the US Ambassador.

    According to Leah Groome, principal of the centre, the event is intended to make children environmentally aware. The proceeds will go to Cans For Kids, and the event is open to the general public.

    Earth Day is celebrated each year on 22 April (this coming Monday), but for practical reasons the Montessori Center has scheduled the event for Sunday afternoon.

    Some celebrate the event on March 21, on the vernal equinox, the only day of the year when daylight hours equal the dark.

    The first Earth Day, proclaimed by the City of San Francisco and celebrated on March 21, 1970, was created by John McConnell. What led him to the idea was his interest in Space exploration and awareness of the March Equinox.

    In the late 1950s John McConnell was co-publisher of the Toe Valley View, a small North Carolina newspaper. He wrote an editorial right after the first Sputnik Satellite urging a bright visible "Star of Hope" satellite that would be a symbol of peace and goodwill. This brought global publicity for a new world view (though the Satellite was never launched).

    Festivals on the March Equinox go back to Stonehenge, Persia, the Mayans and early Chinese history.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [06] Minister stresses commitment to solving gypsy problems

    By a Staff Reporter

    INTERIOR Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday the government was committed to solving problems allegedly created by gypsies living in Limassol's Turkish-Cypriot quarter.

    Local Greek Cypriot residents have been complaining for some time that the gypsies' behavior has been intimidating and offensive, to the point they were scared of going out at night. The majority of Greek Cypriots living in the area are refugees from the 1974 invasion.

    The House Refugee Committee said the situation had deteriorated over the past year, during which the gypsy population had increased fivefold. The waves of gypsies arriving from the breakaway regime in the north have been attributed to a deliberate policy by the administration there.

    The committee has been pressing the Interior Ministry to take swift action, describing the situation as unbearable. After a February meeting with local administration and police officials, Christodoulou set certain deadlines for dealing with the issue.

    But residents now say little to nothing has been done since. In response, Christodoulou yesterday announced a "troubleshooting" meeting would be taking place this coming Wednesday, pledging that the issue would be "examined in depth."

    Both Christodoulou and Limassol administration officers have stressed that the gypsies are citizens of the republic and that the state is obliged to provide them with housing.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [07] 'Ship of Kyrenia' will carry bronze for Athens medals

    By a Staff Reporter

    BRONZE medals in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games will be made from Cypriot bronze, which will be carried to Greece by an exact replica of an ancient Greek vessel which sank off the coast of Kyrenia nearly 9,000 years ago.

    The vessel, which is currently being constructed in Charalambous & Sons Shipyard in Limassol, is expected to be completed by September this year.

    On its maiden voyage, in November, the boat will carry the president of Greece's Olympic Committee, who will be on the island to attend an International Sailing Conference. It will then set sail for Greece in the summer of 2003, carrying bronze which will be used to make medals for the Games.

    Lumber for the construction of the ship was donated by the Cyprus Forestry Department.

    The original 'Ship of Kyrenia' went down off the coast of Kyrenia and was accidentally discovered by Cypriot diver Andreas Kariolou in the winter of 1967 and was later excavated by Michael Katzev, of the American Institute of Nautical Archaeology.

    Another replica of the Kyrenia ship was built in the 1980s by the President of the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition, Harry Tzalas, at a boatyard in Athens.

    The latest replica will be blessed in a special ceremony on April 27.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

    [08] Shots fired in arrest of illegal immigrants

    By a Staff Reporter

    LIMASSOL police yesterday admitted firing warning shots during the arrest of three Syrian illegal immigrants, but residents of the area where the incident took place claimed that officers had beaten one of the men while apprehending him.

    The incident happened at around 11pm on Thursday in the Ypsonas area.

    Residents who heard the shots and went outside to see what was going on said they saw officers beating a man they had just arrested after giving chase in the fields.

    The residents said the shots had been fired within the residential area, while the man's cries caused worry.

    Police did not comment on the claims, but said they were in pursuit of a suspicious car on Ellados Street at around 10pm.

    The officers tried to intercept the car on foot, but its driver drove straight at them, although no one was injured, police said.

    The officers then fired four warning shots, but the car sped off and disappeared.

    It was found abandoned in the fields one hour later and police found it belonged to a Cypriot.

    Police said the three Syrian men were arrested shortly afterwards after they were spotted in the area.

    They were all staying on the island illegally, police said.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2002

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