Cyprus Mail

AKEL candidate draws ire after offensive tweet (Updated)

Marios Hannides

AKEL candidate for a seat in parliament Marios Hannides drew flak on Monday, after posting on his own profile an offensive tweet by Omonia football club’s fans calling for the death of rival fans.
Despite previously mounting an unsuccessful campaign for parliament with socialists EDEK, former Cyprus Tourism Organisation boss Hannides is now running with communist AKEL, which is strongly affiliated with the politicised left-wing club.
He was sacked from the CTO post, to which he was appointed by AKEL during the Demetris Christofias administration, in March 2015, over allegations of conducting his duties poorly.
The controversial post followed Saturday’s clash between Omonia and archrivals APOEL – their main foes, both in geographical and ideological terms – which the right-wing APOEL won.
A Twitter account going by the name Monaha Thyra 9 (‘Only Gate 9’, referring to the club’s loyal organised fans) posted a slogan which was shouted out at stadiums, which targets the ‘Orange’ – Gate 9’s APOEL counterparts – who call themselves members of the Panhellenic Fans’ Association.
“The Orange were always wimps, they should all die in the Panhellenic Fans’ Association,” the tweet said.
Hannides – presumably an Omonia fan – retweeted this, prompting Politis journalist Chrysta Ntzani to take him to task over the inappropriate tweet.
“Do you adopt this tweet?” she asked the aspiring legislator.
“The ‘wimps’ part, yes!” he replied.
“The second part, certainly not. On the contrary, I disagree with such views.”
But this weak response failed to help Hannides, who faced a full-on attack by various commentators, anonymous and named alike.
“This is the moral degradation of a man who will decide children’s future. Obviously, he will throw some to hell’s fire,” APOEL spokesman Nektarios Petevinos tweeted.
“He is welcome to the Panhellenic Fans’ Association to defend his ‘wimps’ remark,” an APOEL fan wrote.
After posting a number of unrelated tweets on his account, Hannides returned to the issue with further attempts at clarification.
“It goes without saying that ‘wimps’ was a joke,” he tweeted.
“With regard to the second part, my response WAS clear, and is attached.”
To this tweet, Hannides attached his initial response.
Shortly after AKEL condemned its candidate’s “inappropriate” behaviour, Hannides issued a statement of his own, prompting suspicion that he was forced to back-track by the party.
“I was very sad to see that the forwarding of a tweet regarding APOEL fans has been misconstrued,” Hannides said.
“This is the reality. In no way do I endorse the content of the post, which I did not author. It was not my intention to offend anyone.”

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