Greek Cypriot officials are on a quest to exhume the remains of a young boy, who was shot and killed during a student riot against British forces in 1956, in order to give him a hero’s burial.
According to Philenews, officials have ordered the exhumation of remains belonging to Demetrakis Demetriades, a 7-year-old Greek Cypriot boy who was shot and killed during a protest on 14 March 1956 in Larnaca.
According to oral history and witness accounts in the media, a loud voice was heard in Demetrakis’ elementary school on a casual Wednesday, calling pupils to join a protest. Minutes later the church bells at Saint Lazarus were ringing accompanied with slogans such as “demonstration, demonstration,” “enosis, enosis,” and “Brits out of Cyprus.”
Officials opened the family grave to carry out DNA testing and determine whether the boy was indeed among the buried
Demetrakis, known as an errand boy in his local community, was shot in the eye during the afternoon protest, with reports saying British soldiers had made use of tear gas to disperse the crowds but the boy still remained in the area with stones in his hands.
Additional reports said the soldier who fired the shot was seen having a mental breakdown on site.
Local media said the boy’s burial took place under difficult and unusual circumstances, but this week, according to Philenews, officials opened the boy’s family gravesite to carry out DNA testing and determine whether the fallen child was indeed among the buried.
It has also been reported that Presidential Commissioner Fotis Fotiou said he had received a letter from Nikos Sergides, the president of Cyprus Organization of Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons, who showed a written note on behalf of the boy’s family asking for proper recognition “in accordance to ethnic and religious traditions.”