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Diko sticks auditor-general on Antigone production

(Photo: Christos Theodorides)

Following a request by Diko chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos, the auditor-general on Friday launched an investigation into the procedures preceding the staging of an ancient Greek tragedy in occupied Famagusta, which turned out to be a huge success, attended by some 4,000 people.

Papadopoulos wrote to the auditor basically asking him to clarify who funded the play, staged at the ancient theatre of Salamina.

In his letter, the Diko chairman, who, along with other hardline parties, opposed the event, speaks of the ambiguity and confusion regarding the cost of the play and the source of funding.

He later tweeted a letter from the auditor to the head of the antiquities department asking whether permission had been granted for the use of the theatre.

The letter also asked the chairman of the theatrical organisation to inform his office if any funds had been paid.

The play, Antigone, was staged on Wednesday before a crowd of 4,000 Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and foreign spectators, who filled every available space in the ancient theatre in spite of protestations from Papadopoulos, socialists Edek, the Solidarity Movement, and extreme right party Elam.

The four parties staged a protest outside the Greek embassy – because the play was staged by the National Theatre of Greece – attended by some 40 people.

Papadopoulos also submitted the issue for discussion in parliament.

The Diko chairman said the parliamentary groups of Disy and Akel had declined to discuss the matter before the House Education Committee.

“And it wasn’t deemed right to examine the procedure with which permission was illegally given for the use of an archaeological area,” he said.

Papadopoulos said such events conveyed the wrong messages abroad regarding the Cyprus problem.

Akel parliamentary spokesman Giorgos Loukaides voiced regret over discussion of the matter before the plenum. The matter, he said, was being discussed by the conference of party leaders.

“I have attended and I feel honoured to have been to the event,” Loukaides said. And the fact that 4,000 went should mean something when compared to the 40 outside the embassy.

Disy parliamentary spokesman Nicos Tornaritis said it would be a disservice if what is discussed by the National Council was transferred to parliament.

Tornaritis said those who wanted information should seek it from the relevant ministry.

“We will not criminalise culture,” he said. His party, Tornaritis said, would be willing to agree to the submission of the matter for discussion before a committee, if the word ‘illegal’ was removed from the proposal.

Papadopoulos agreed and the matter will be discussed by the House Transport and Communications Committee at a later date.

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