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12° Nicosia,
20 October, 2021
 
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Fence wars break out near buffer zone

Opposing groups battle it out over controversial Astromeritis barbwire fence

Newsroom

Opposing camps have been making headlines recently over a controversial barbwire fence near the buffer zone, with one group cutting a piece of barbed wire and the other restoring it, with all caught on tape.

Last weekend, members of Os Dame group filmed themselves cutting barbed wire from a fence in Astromeritis, which had been recently installed by the government to deter undocumented migrants from crossing from north to south.

Member of Os Dame, a pro-peace and anti-corruption group, filmed themselves cutting the wire and then installing it outside the Interior Ministry building.

“A spurring policy of division and the racist handling of health and economic crises meet together at the Astromeritis barbwire,” a statement from Os Dame said.

“The barbwire fence cuts Cyprus in half,” Os Dame said, adding that that “it was based on the same policy that keeps migrants locked up in Pournara concentration camp.”

But another group, members of the Solidarity Movement, says there is no racism in the installation of the fence, citing a need to counter “another Turkish invasion.”

Solidarity Movement head Eleni Theocharous posted a video on YouTube taking credit over another video showing members of her party reinstalling the part of the fence which had previously been removed.

A statement from the group, a subsection calling themselves Greek Solidarity Movement, said their members took the initiative to reinstall the fence “albeit a meager and inadequate barbwire for stopping migration flows, which was taken down by traitor forces of the left wing and collaborators with the Turkish occupation.”

President Nicos Anastasiades also made references to the fence on Monday, saying he was aware of the developments.

The President also made clear that barbed wire was “not a delimitation of a hard border but a barrier to stop an ever-expanding strategy by Turkey,” accusing Ankara of orchestrating migration flows to Cyprus to “change demographics and cause financial problems” on the island.

Media reports said some local farmers were not supportive of the fence, while other residents had demanded better coordination from the government to combat undocumented migration but also illegal trade.

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