THE GOVERNMENT on Wednesday unveiled a monument at the Constantinos and Eleni cemetery in Nicosia for 24 victims, among them a seven-year-old girl, who were killed in the July 15, 1974 coup against Archbishop Makarios.
The majority of the victims were police officers and reservists who fought against the coupists, at the presidential palace, the Archbishopric, and police headquarters, said Fotis Fotiou, commissioner for humanitarian affairs, who was representing the government at the unveiling ceremony.
The then unidentified remains were exhumed last year from a mass grave at the cemetery, and it was known that the majority of those buried there were people who fought against the coupists.
In the same grave, were also located the remains of other victims, killed randomly from exchange of fire, among them seven-year-old Dora Yiangou, Fotiou said. Yiangou, was said to have been killed by a stray bullet that hit her in the heart. It is said that she had been standing on the veranda of her house when she was shot.
In total, the remains of 24 people were discovered, including six civilians, Fotiou said.
The decision for the excavation at the cemetery was taken by the cabinet two years ago, he said, and it included the erection of a monument at the site where the remains were exhumed.
“Today a sad chapter of the tragedy Cyprus experienced in 1974 is closing,” Fotiou said. “Here lie the remains of great men who put up a fight against the treasonous coup”.
Their names and actions are a symbol to us all, he said.
“They fully responded to the oath they took by assuming their duties and tried, by sacrificing their own lives, to keep the backdoors closed, which were opened by fools for Turkey to invade a week later bringing havoc and destruction to our country,” Fotiou said.
He added that the government had also decided to erect a monument at the presidential palace to honour and remember those who fought against the coupists.
“Hatred and discord caused great harm to Cyprus. We have a duty to not forget and to remember. History is not just a record of events. It is a consultant for the course we must follow as a people,”
On Friday, the Republic will mark the 42nd anniversary of the coup. Like every year, sirens will ring out at 8:20am, the time the coup began. Political parties and other group have announced a number of events against the coup and the ensuing Turkish invasion.
Main opposition party AKEL, is organising on Wednesday an event in Larnaca with speeches and a march, held by its youth branch.
On Friday, a 15-day motorcycle procession will begin, organised by the Isaac-Solomou Memorial Initiative. The procession will begin from Berlin and will end on July 30 at the Paralimni crossing. The process is organised to honour the 20th anniversary of the deaths of Tassos Isaac and his cousin Solomos Solomou who were killed by Turkish occupying forces and extremist Grey Wolves during separate anti-occupation demonstration in the Dherynia buffer zone in August 1996.
The motorcyclists will depart from Cyprus on July 15, and are to travel to European cities.
Initiative member Nikolas Ioannides, said that this effort of theirs, aims at highlighting all those values that stand for freedom. Even though 20 years have passed, he said, no one forgot their sacrifice.
On Monday evening, the majority of the opposition parties, DIKO, EDEK, the Citizens’ Alliance and the Greens-Citizens’ Cooperation, are hosting a joint event at the Ledra Palace in Nicosia, to mark the coup anniversary and the Turkish invasion.
Key speaker at the event will be Professor Vangelis Koufoudakis.