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22 May, 2024
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Cyprus protests British Bases' role in Gaza conflict

Anti-war petition delivered at Akrotiri Base

Newsroom / CNA

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday morning outside the Akrotiri Base, in Limassol district, in Cyprus, with placards, flags and shouting slogans, protesting the involvement, as they say, of the British Bases in Cyprus in Israel's war in Gaza.

A delegation of the Cyprus Peace Council, which organised the protest, submitted a petition to a representative of the British Bases.

In connection with the protest, a British Ministry of Defence spokesperson, said that, British Forces Cyprus continue to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza “and no RAF flights into Israel have transported any lethal cargo”.

Under the surveillance of the Bases police, the protesters marched on Sunday outside the entrance of the Akrotiri Base, in the Limassol district, shouting slogans such as “The people don't want you, take your Bases and go”, “ There is only one enemy,imperialism”, “Cyprus - Palestine Solidarity”, and “British Bases you can't hide, you are committing genocide”.

Speaking at the event, the President of the Cyprus Peace Council, Tasos Kosteas, said that Cyprus was a living example of how military bases do not solve problems, “do not provide stability and security, but increase militarisation and perpetuate tension”.

“We condemn the direct and now proven involvement of the USA and Britain in the bombing of neighbouring countries”, he said. The bombing of Gaza, “under the pretext of Israel's right to self-defence, and the bombing of Yemen, under the pretext of piracy incidents in the Horn of Africa, without the permission of the UN Security Council, constitute serious violations of international law and crimes against the civilian population”, he added.

He stated that foreign military bases, just like in Cyprus, were “an anachronism” and “a remnant of colonialism”, adding that such bases “have no place in a modern and nationally sovereign society”.

Kosteas said that they could not remain indifferent to “these latest crimes” in the region, and that is why they were joining other peace organisations that call for an end to the war.

At the protest, messages were read from the World Peace Council, the British Peace Assembly, and the Palestinian Embassy in Cyprus.

A delegation of the Cyprus Peace Council submitted a petition to a representative of the British Bases. The Council calls for an end to Cyprus’ involvement, through the British Bases, “to the genocide” of the Palestinian people.

Among other things, it denounces, “the use and involvement of the British Bases in Cyprus in airstrikes against the people of the region, the illegal presence of American troops in our country through the Akrotiri British military base, the creation of an American military Base within the Akrotiri British Bases and the illegal presence of 3000 American soldiers.”

It also denounces the “transportation of American war materials and forces in support of Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip and Yemen”.

A British Ministry of Defence spokesperson, said in a statement that British Forces Cyprus continue to support the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza “and no RAF flights into Israel have transported any lethal cargo”.

“We are focused on getting significantly more aid into Gaza and have doubled the UK’s provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people to £60 million”, the spokesperson said.

Last week, the spokesperson added, RFA Lyme Bay, with the support of British Forces Cyprus, delivered 87 tonnes of UK and Cypriot aid to Egypt for the people of Gaza, while four RAF aircraft have also delivered a further seventy-four tonnes of humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians via Egypt.

The statement recalled that the UK continues to call for immediate, unimpeded and safe humanitarian access for lifesaving aid to reach civilians in Gaza.

It also noted that in response to a direct request from the Israeli Defence Forces, the UK has provided medical equipment, including defibrillators and emergency blankets. "This is in line with our approach of providing life-saving medical supplies in response to requests from other governments around the world," it added.

Furthermore it pointed out that "the UK respects and supports the right to peaceful protest. British Forces Cyprus are a force for good in the region and play a vital role in supporting humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operations."

"This latest humanitarian relief operation follows British Forces Cyprus recent support, alongside our partners in the Republic of Cyprus, to relieve the suffering of those affected by the tragic earthquake in Türkiye and Syria and assistance in bringing circa 2,450 people to a place of safety during the evacuation from Sudan," the statement noted.

The UK has retained two sovereign military bases in Cyprus, one in Akrotiri and one in Dhekelia, since it granted Cyprus its independence in 1960

Cyprus  |  Akrotiri  |  protest  |  Gaza  |  strike  |  British  |  army

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