Cyprus Mail

Kalo Horio residents stop army exercise, demand permanent halt

Larnaca communities on Monday staged another demonstration demanding the closure of the National Guard’s main firing range at Kalo Horio.

Local residents blocked with their cars the entrance to the firing range, forcing a peaceful standoff with the military and police.

They withdrew after Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides ordered the exercise stopped and agreed to meet with them on Friday to discuss their demands.

Local communities want the firing range closed, fearing for their safety and health.

The range is used by the army for various exercises, including heavy weapons live fire. There have been incidents of shells straying from target and ending up close to communities. Unexploded ordnance found in villages surrounding the area is not unusual.

Kalo Horio’s outgoing community leader Kyriacos Antzoulis said the firing range was located some 500 metres from a residential area.

He said the defence ministry carried out exercises on a daily basis, including at night-time, except weekends.

The residents have also demanded a comprehensive study into the effects the shells had on the air, the soil, and the water.

Two letters had been sent, one to the defence minister and one to parliament, but no reply had been received by November 21, the deadline the residents had set.

Community leader-elect Flourentzos Theodorou said they will be forced to take “more dynamic measures” should the government fail to satisfy their demands.

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