Outside the Flamingo hotel in solidarity with the Palestinian fighters

Last week the thirteen Palestinian fighters, described by Sharon as "terrorists", who were inside the besieged church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, were flown to Larnaca amid draconian security measures.  The right wing Cypriot Government who supposedly gave them "sanctuary” until the European Union decides their final destination, keeps them confined on the upper floor of a five-storey hotel, isolated from the rest of the world.

On Saturday May 11, Workers Democracy called a solidarity demo outside the hotel. Around 60 socialists and Palestinian activists chanted in Arabic and Greek, “Political Asylum to the fighters now“, “We are all Palestinians”, “No justice No peace” and “You are all welcome here”. The police did not allow us to send a delegation to visit the Palestinians and at the same time they did not allow them to appear on the balcony with the lame excuse that “their safety was endangered”. This shows how sincere the government was, when it declared that the 13 Palestinians “are not under arrest”.

However, we continued blocking the hotel entrance and chanting slogans and songs in solidarity with the Intifada. Eventually one of the Palestinians came out on the balcony waving a Palestinian flag and making the V-sign returning our salute.

The media could not ignore the demo and all the TV channels on the main evening news bulletin covered it. Our intervention was very important both as a way to extend solidarity to the Palestinian struggle but also in exposing the hypocrisy of our government which is carrying out the EU dirty work. In essence, they all agree with Sharon and regard the Palestinian fighters as “terrorists”.

Finally, our intervention during the last six weeks over the Israeli war against Palestinians helped us gain credibility inside the left in Cyprus. We have taken the initiative with other organisations to mobilise and where it was not possible, we took action alone pulling with us a number of young, genuine militants. This was the case with this mobilisation. It shows that the role of revolutionary organisations can be decisive at crucial moments and that regardless of size, the clarity of ideas is very important.