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Displaced protest over promised land they haven’t received

Protesters returning their ballot books to the Limassol district office on Monday

Displaced persons eligible for state granted building plots staged a protest outside the Limassol district office on Monday, handing back 300 voting booklets belonging to recipients who say dividing up the land has taken too long.

Demanding a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades, protestors say around 500 displaced persons were approved as eligible to receive land from the state during the administration of former President Demetris Christofias.

But the process to divide the land has yet to begin and recipients are unable to use the land or build on it.

“Instead of building their home and living with their families, these people live in their parents’ house or rent,” a spokesperson for the group, Yiannis Beros said.

“We’re asking for the obvious. We have applied and been approved in writing from the state. Some have even signed contracts and we are asking the government to honour its signatures and stay true to its commitments.”

Chairwoman of the House refugee committee and Akel MP Skevi Koukouma said 705 pieces of land were given to displaced persons between 2011 and 2012 but the procedure to divide them into specific plots never began.

In the meantime, the division of pieces of land in Parekklisia was scrapped and many couples returned their land to the state either because they divorced or said they no longer had the financial means to build a property.

The delayed procedure has left affected displaced persons with their hands tied as they are unable to do anything with the land.

In other cases, the procedure was different, Koukouma said.

“The process to separate the land items would begin, couples would receive documents, begin their planning and start building.”

According to Koukouma, some of the displaced persons have received letters outlining the land will be divided by December 2019 if no difficulties hinder the process and then they will be able to utilize the land and build on it.

Protestors handed over 300 voting booklets to send out a message they wouldn’t be voting in the upcoming presidential elections.

“Many more of those affected said they wouldn’t vote,” Beros told reporters.

Koukouma added she had sent a letter to Anastasiades asking him to re-examine a decision to cut the sum of €20,000 refugees were also eligible for in addition to the land.

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