More than 800 people, defying rain and against the prevailing atmosphere of the presidential elections in the Greek part of the island, marched in a vibrant and lively demo called by the Stop the War Alliance at the Army British Base in Dhekelia, Cyprus. The choice of the location was made for the role of the bases during the coming war on Iraq but also because it borders with northern and southern sides of the island and it will be easy for the Turkish Cypriots to come.
The demonstrators in a symbolic action they barred the military runway at Dhekelia for an hour and using white paint they wrote on the asphalt roadway of the air lane "NO WAR" so that the pilots can see it when landing their fighter planes. From there the demonstrators marched on to Pyla village. During the 4 kilometres walk the demonstrators never stopped chanting slogans in in Greek, English, Turkish even in French due to a small contingent of French demonstrators who came with their flags: "Don't attack Iraq," "No more blood for oil" and "Give no help to the imperialists", "Bush Occule", "Berlusconi Fanculo"! When the demonstrators entered Pyla the villagers, Greeks and Turks, cheered them and some of them joined the march. The demonstrators finally gathered at a cafe-restaurant where there was a giant screen showing via satellite the great mobilisations in the various capitals of the world. The meeting there addressed G. Perdikis from the Greens, Dinos Ayiomamitis (Workers Democracy), Maria Hadjimichael (Teachers Autonomous Intervention), Filippos Papanikolaou (Students against the War Initiative) and Josef Payatas (New Cyprus Association). They all stressed that the demo is part of a global anti-war mobilisation and that the anti-war protests and activities must escalate further. The next activity should be to stage a protest outside the hotel where Mr Blix, the head of the UN inspectors, stays when he arrives in Larnaka. Many people signed the declaration of the Stop the War Alliance and £183 was collected toward the fighting fund of the Alliance.
Despite the difficulties in communication with the Turkish Cypriots Cyprus due to the political situation, few Turkish Cypriots who managed to come from Pergamos and together with some Turkish Cypriots living in the mixed village of Pyla joined in. However, that was a very significant political event since it was the first time in many decades that Turkish and Greek Cypriots took part in a demonstration. Finally, many demonstrators pointed that the demonstration was also the biggest demonstration ever staged without the support and participation of mass parties especially AKEL and its front organisatons who were sadly absent.
We have been informed that on the same day in Northern Cyprus a demo was staged outside the British High Commission in the Turkish side of Nicosia. The demo was supported by the youth organisations of the TKP (Social Liberation Party) CTP (Republican Turkey Party) and KSP (Cyprus Socialist Party).