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November 22, 2014 | by Dimitris
Cyprus News Roundup: Issue One (W47-14)

Cyprus News Roundup is a new 3533 feature. Every week our team of volunteering editors will compile a summary of less covered news from the whole spectrum of the socio-political landscape of the island. The first issue will cover developments that took place in November, but we intend to make this a topical feature. Don’t forget to check 3533 every weekend.

We are looking forward to your suggestions and contributions. See you in the Comments Section.

Citizens protest impending privatisation of Commons

Reclaim the Sea Initiative held a protest outside the House of Representatives this Thursday. With over 4400 signatures collected and some 300 individuals present, representatives of the initiative submitted a petition to the acting Speaker of the House, detailing civil society’s opposition to currently debated law proposals that will label commons as state property and give the power to privatise them to the competent government minister. You can watch videos from the protest, including interviews with members on the initiative on 3533 (audio in Greek). [Ph]

Green light expected for Akkuyu Power Plant before December

The environmental impact assessment report for Akkuyu nuclear power plant is expected to be confirmed by the Ministry of Environment and Urban planning before Russia PM Putin’s visit to Turkey on 1st of December. On the southern coastline of Turkey, Akkuyu in Mersin Province, is located across the sea from northern shores of Cyprus. Akkuyu Nükleer AŞ, a subsidiary of Russian state owned company Rosatom, is expected to begin construction of the nuclear power plant as soon as the report is confirmed. Official complaints were submitted to Mersin governorship opposing the construction of the power plant by some civil society organisations. Akkuyu Nükleer AŞ is given time to respond to these complaints by the governorship. Plans of building the nuclear plant  received criticism and attention from various CSOs and political parties from Cyprus in the past. The nuclear plant is expected to be operational on 2020 and completed on 2023. Turkish government has further plans of developing another power plant in Sinop after Akkuyu. [GK]

Paphos Mayor to release statement on corruption allegations on Monday

Paphos Mayor Savvas Vergas in hot water after accusations of gross mismanagement of the municipality’s finance surfaced. Allegations involve the Mayor and members of the municipal council who provided preferential land-zoning treatment to businessman in exchange of cash, avoiding municipal taxation on music concerts by falsely labelling them charities, and using the municipality’s budget to fund the football club Paphiakos, and with Vergas threatening to uncover more scandals in order to take others down with him. He still ignores mounting pressure for his resignation, promising a statement on Monday. [Ph] [P1] [P2]

Police raids queer photo exhibition, insist on chargers against NGO

Police raided a queer-themed photographic exhibition in Nicosia on Friday, confiscating ‘indecent material’ which was on public display inside Nicosia’s Old Municipal Market. Police HQ says they won’t back down on charges. See 3533’s coverage here.

Anti-militarist protest violently repressed by Police

Three activist from Conscientious Objection Initiative were met with police violence during the military parade marking “the 31st anniversary of TRNC”.  See 3533’s coverage here.

Conscientious objectors face continued prosecution

Conscientious objectors continue to be prosecuted after numerous acknowledgments of conscientious objection as a human right by the Constitutional Court and the Military Court of Appeals. A law amendment that will allow the right to conscientious objection has been demanded vocally by multiple political parties and civil society organisations but progress about the issue is yet to be made in the northern Cyprus parliament. Haluk Selam Tufanli and Murat Kanatlı, conscientious objectors in north, are refusing to participate in the army reservist activities since 2011 and 2013 respectively. After last appeals by Öncel Polili and the Prosecution last week, the Military Court of Appeals is expected to make a judgement on Haluk Selam  Tufanlı’s case on 11th of December. A solidarity call has been made by the Conscientious Objection Initiative in Cyprus to be present at the court to support Haluk Selam Tufanlı. The judgement expected to be handed down is jail-time. [VRI]

Rapist set free by presidential pardon

Presidential pardon sends convicted rapist free, who immediately fled abroad. Along with 4 other inmates, he was supposed to be investigated for the prison rape of a young petty thief, that shocked Cyprus earlier this year,  led to major shake-ups in the prison’s hierarchy and ‘enraged’ president Anastasiadis who personally visited the young rape survivor. A European Arrest Warrant was issued after the fact. [P]

Ongoing strike actions gain momentum

400 hospitality sector employees working for 10 hotels operated by the AquaSol and MarisMare groups picket SunHall Hotel, demanding that their two last month of salaries are paid immediately, including the public holidays and medical coverage payments they withhold. The employees find themselves in the middle of a dispute between the company and the special administrator of the Bank of Cyprus.
On the same week, the workers of Afrostrom LTD in Nicosia called off their announced indefinite strike action after the company withdraws dismissal of four of their coworkers. The four employees and the company are already involved in a labour dispute with the MinLab as a mediator and the decision to dismiss them was considered a retaliatory move by the workers of the company. [Agk]

Woman left without electricity nearly dies in house fire

Unemployed woman in Limassol nearly died of house fire on Friday. She resorted to using candles for lighting after the Electricity Authority interrupted her power supply due to outstanding bills. The house suffered serious damages, with the bedroom completely destroyed. [Ph]

Two-day Faneromeni event examines dimensions of patriarchy

A two-day event was held in Nicosia Old Town earlier this month. The event, titled Genders & Power examined various aspects of patriarchy, as it affects various social groups, including women, sexual minorities, ethnic communities, and other movements like environmentalism and anti-militarism, through talks, discussions, performances and screenings. The proceedings of the event are expected to be published in the next issue of the anarchist magazine Entropia. [GPF]

Islamic New Year celebration in Larnaca

 A thousand Turkish Cypriots crossed to south on Saturday for a pilgrimage at Cyprus’ holiest mosque, Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca, on the occasion of the Islamic New Year. They were escorted by Police from and to the Ayios Dhometios crossing point in Nicosia. [CM]

 

Let us know in the comments if we missed anything that the mainstream media didn’t cover.

 

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