On Sunday September 29th the Pancyprian Peace Council called for a Peace March at the Akrotiri British bases in Limassol. More than 5000 people protested against the installation of a 500.000-Watts gigantic atenna by the authorities of the British Sovereign bases, against the war preparations of Bush and Blair and for a free Palestine.
Our organisation took part with our banners and plackards and our intervention aimed: against any attack on Iraq and for free Palestine; for the dismantling of the antenna, which is planned to be a vital RAF communication centre for US-led intelligence gathering in the Middle East; for the closure of the British bases and against the right wing Klerides government that rendered the ports, the airports and many facilities in southern Cyprus at the disposal of British and American imperialists.
The previous Peace march was organised back in May 1999 and attracted 10.000 people. However, at that time it took place when the bombing in Yugoslavia was at its height and while Salonica was used as the gate of the Nato troops to Yugoslavia. Many celebrities had also been invited then, like the left wing Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.
The organisers tried to give the Peace march an 'all-party' character inviting along the governing right wing party of Democratic Rally which was 'represented' by its MP Eleni Theocharous. Her presence was enough reason for the organisers to ask that we should drop one of our slogans which said 'Our war is being fought here against austerity and the Democratic Rally government. Furthermore the organisers focused primarily on the enviromental and health threat from the installation of the antenna and the emitted electomagnetic radiation, against the Turkish troops and against the war, in this order.
Considering that the war in Iraq has not started yet and that the Peace Council had not intention originally to turn the march into an anti-war rally the number of 5.000 people gathered and the anti-war and anti-imperialist mood expressed by the protesters was impressive. The Peace march was definitely a good start for building an anti-war movement in southern Cyprus.