Main opposition Akel on Monday held a protest in Limassol against the municipality’s decision to allow the building of a monument to honour general Georgios Grivas whom the party considers one of the main culprits for the events that led up to Turkish invasion.
The protesters marched to the Government House Square where they voiced their strong disagreement with the decision to construct a monument at the grave of the controversial general in Limassol.
They held a banner saying “No to the monument of shame”, “Grivas, the destroyer of Cyprus”.
Grivas led the Eoka struggle against Britain for Enosis, or union, with Greece and was involved in the armed clashes that took place between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots in the years after independence.
He returned to Cyprus from Greece in 1971 and formed the paramilitary organisation of Eoka B which attempted to overthrow President Makarios.
Grivas died in January 1974 but his cohorts continued to be active and in July 1974 they sided with the military junta governing Greece to oust Makarios in a coup which led to the invasion.
“Everyone knows, and if they didn’t they ought to have learned, that Limassol was the town of resistance and democracy,” Akel said. “It gave heroes in the struggle against the criminal action of Eoka B and Grivas.”
With his criminal activity, Grivas went down as a traitor, the party said.
“Turkey’s flag on occupied Pentadaktylos reminds us daily of his life and achievements.”
The application to build the monument was submitted by a privately funded group called the General Georgios Grivas Foundation.
The decision to grant a planning permit for the monument was taken by the municipal council last week with 13 votes from Disy, Solidarity, Citizens Alliance, and Elam. Ten councillors belonging to Akel, Diko, and Edek voted against.
In a statement on Monday, mayor Nicos Nicolaides said the council had no other choice. Rejecting the application would have left the administration open to legal procedures, he added.
Nicolaides said in 2008 the council had rejected a similar application for a Grivas monument from the same group for political reasons. They wanted to build an exhibition area, monument and a square on private land.
The applicants went to the Supreme Court which cancelled the council’s decision because it had not been judged using the proper criteria.
The municipality appealed the first decision but the court upheld it in 2015, saying political reasons were not part of town-planning legislation.