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22 June, 2024
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Groups pull out of royal concert in Cyprus

Local charities and participants step back following EOKA controversy ahead of Queen's platinum jubilee


Local charities and participants in the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II next month in Cyprus have turned their backs on the concert following political controversy linked to EOKA, as more participants are now refusing to take part ahead of an election year.

(Click here for an update to the story)

The Cyprus Association for Children with Cancer and Related Diseases known as “One Dream, One Wish” announced on Monday it would not accept donations from a royal concert set to take place at the Ancient Kourion amphitheater next month.

Days earlier another cancer charity “Little Heroes” also refused to receive money from the concert, which was being organized by the British Bases on the island.

Last month Little Heroes, a group linked to conservative MEP Loucas Fourlas, took to Facebook to thank Cyprus Police and Sovereign Base Areas Police for a donation over 15 thousand following a bicycling event.

During a royal visit to the island in 1993, angry demonstrators booed the Queen outside a medieval building in downtown Nicosia, with protesters close by chanting 'EOKA, EOKA' among other things

But last week Little Heroes said the organization was not originally aware that the purpose of the concert would be to honor the Queen.

“After unofficial information we received on May 4… we contacted the organizers and asked that we be removed from the list of foundations that were to receive financial help from the concert proceeds,” Little Heroes said.

The controversy began after presidential candidate Giorgos Kolokasides took to social media on May 4 to condemn the event, saying “the name of this particular monarch has been associated with the darkest moments of Cypriot history.”

Kolokasides called the British Bases in Cyprus “remnants of a British colony” and said there was never an apology from the United Kingdom for their role against the ethnic struggle of Greek Cypriots in the mid to late 1950’s as well as “Britain’s role after the establishment of the Republic and until today.”

Over half a century ago the British administration in Cyprus carried out death sentences for nine insurgents of the EOKA Organization of National Cypriot Fighters, a movement that sought union with Greece but viewed by the colonial government as a terrorist group.

On 14 March 1957, the youngest fighter was put to death which drew public condemnation the world over. The lives of two dozen others were spared when the fighters proposed a truce on the same day, with Greek Cypriots demanding exiled Archbishop Makarios return to the island and the British insisting that he publicly denounced violence.

Kolokasides, who is seeking the presidency of the Republic of Cyprus in 2023, is widely known for making anti-British comments over the years, with some media pundits suggesting the controversy could have political dimensions in an elections year. 

But Fourlas, a former journalist who lost a child to cancer, is also known to be linked to the two charities, with reports suggesting he gifted all current and future proceeds of a book he wrote to one of them.

The Diastasis Cultural Association, which also was set to take part in the concert next month, announced Monday it would not participate but gave no reason.

During a royal visit to the island in 1993, angry demonstrators jeered and booed the Queen as she was walking outside a medieval building in downtown Nicosia, with protesters shouting ''shame'' and ''go home, you are not wanted here.”

The small crowd stood rather close by as they started to chant “EOKA, EOKA.”

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