About 250 peace activists gathered outside the American Embassy in Nicosia Monday evening to demonstrate against NATO and the latest military airstrikes against Syria.
The organised protest took place between 6pm and 7pm several metres from a road block just outside the US Embassy in Nicosia, where demonstrators, young and old, were seen socializing with each other and listening to music.
Police officers had cordoned off the entire road outside the US Embassy for security reasons but there no incidents were reported at the demonstration.
Others held flags of the Republic of Cyprus, Syria, as well as Communists of Cyprus, the Cypriot branch of the Greek Communist Party
The anti-war demonstration was organised by the Cyprus Peace Council which is opposing military strikes against Syria. The CPC, a left-leaning group which has been calling for the bloodshed in Syria to stop, had issued an open call to anyone who shares their hands-off-Syria view to show up outside the US Embassy.
One banner at the demonstration read “neither land nor water to the killers of people” and “NATO Killers Go Home.” Others held flags of the Republic of Cyprus, Syria, as well as Communists of Cyprus, the Cypriot branch of the Greek Communist Party.
The protest was meant to send the message to western countries that CPC did not consent to Cyprus being used by British forces to launch attacks against Syria.
“We express our practical solidarity and support with the suffering people of Syria who are experiencing war, death, the uprooting of masses of people, subject to pain and bloodshed on a daily basis,” CPC said in a statement online.
The demonstration was seen as a next step to a Sunday protest outside RAF Akrotiri, where four British Tornado fighter jets took off the previous day to take part in a missile strike against suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria.
The Sunday protest had been organised by KKE Cyprus and saw about 350 activists gathering in front of the entrance gate of RAF Akrotiri air base to denounce US-led airstrikes.
The protesters, who used red paint to write "NATO killers go home" on a nearby wall outside the base's gate, delivered a message against Cyprus government lending any assistance to “imperialist attacks” on Syria.
Akel criticises government on bases
Akel party MP Aristos Damianou issued a statement on Monday, criticising the government and President Nicos Anastasiades for not being forthcoming with the public on the Syrian attack.
“When the opposition poses a question, the government has an obligation to respond,” Damianou said, pointing to what he described as a failure on the part of Anastasiades to reveal what he had told UK Prime Minister Theresa May regarding the use of British bases as a launching pad for attacks.
“If we get no answer - and judging from the unfortunate statements made yesterday from the government camp that basically bases are military installations and can do whatever they want – we can infer that not only did Mr Anastasiades not say anything to Mrs May, but quite on the contrary, the government probably takes the side of those who believe military power supersedes international justice.”
Attacks launched Saturday
On Saturday early morning, the United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Syria a week ago, targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities, including a research and development centre in Damascus’ Barzeh district and two installations near Homs.
The bombing was the biggest intervention by Western countries against Assad and his superpower ally Russia, but the three countries said the strikes were limited to Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities and not aimed at toppling Assad or intervening in the civil war.
The air attack, denounced by Damascus and its allies as an illegal act of aggression, was unlikely to alter the course of a multisided war that has killed at least half a million people.