Thousands of people from the political left, from both sides of the divide, attended a peace rally in the UN controlled buffer zone on Monday to show their support for the island’s leaders as they struggled to reach an agreement in Mont Pelerin.
“We are here to show support for peace,” Aitan Cannur told the Cyprus Mail. “Hopefully, so something happens to stop the division.”
His sentiments were echoed by Costas Shahinian. “I am here to support this attempt at reunification, as the talks are on and the leaders need to know there is support from a large number of people.”
Sofocles Hadjisofocleous expressed his concern that if a solution was not found soon, perhaps the island would be forever divided.
“We lost one chance in 2004, we don’t want to miss another one, possibly the last. We are here to offer our support so the leaders feel that people want a lasting solution.”
The event at the Cetinkaya stadium in the UN controlled buffer zone next to Ledra Palace hotel featured speeches, dancing and singing. White balloons and doves were released as a symbol of peace. Other participants waved olive branches in the air.
The Bi-communal Peace Initiative United Cyprus, which consists of 74 trade unions, civic organisations and movements, which took part in the event, said earlier that it believed Cyprus was at an historical crossroads.
“We urge the leaders of the communities, Mr Anastasiades and Mr Akinci, to proceed urgently and courageously to overcome the final barriers of the negotiations. Reaching this agreement will be a victory for all the people of Cyprus,” a statement from the organisation said. “Every step of progress in the remaining negotiations is a victory of peace and hope that will allow our country to break free from the chains of the past, shatter the barbed wire, the structures and ideologies of hatred and division and unleash the creative energies of the future to generate the Cyprus we dream of.”
Altogether, the rally was attended by 120 Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot organisations.
“We support the efforts for an agreed solution and we call upon the two leaders to negotiate seriously and reach an agreement that meets the expectations of the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,” a declaration issued by the organisers said.