A call for unity was issued on Monday by the Eoka Fighters Association as Cyprus marked the 64th anniversary of the April 1 start of the 1955 to 1959 struggle against British colonial rule that led to the island’s independence in 1960.
Church services, gatherings, marches, wreath-laying and other events were held islandwide from morning on Monday, as political parties issued statements paying tribute to those who died during the struggle.
The Eoka Fighters Association, in their statement, called for domestic unity. “This is the
link that must connect all of us in a single voice that has a definite and clear goal, which is to save our country,” the statement said.
Greek Cypriots, it added, must unite to claim a Cyprus solution that is “fair and sustainable based on the principles of the UN and the EU”.
The association also called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops and settlers, and the return of all refugees to their homes.
“We are claiming the creation of a normal state, as is the case with all the free and democratic states of Europe and elsewhere,” it added.
It called on the political leadership to come up with a common position on the Cyprus issue and to coordinate their actions instead of infighting.
“Conflicts, and talking about a solution of the Cyprus problem via television creates nothing harm,’ the association said.
On Monday, the main church service was held in Nicosia, led by Archbishop Chrysostomos at Saint John’s cathedral in the presence of President Nicos Anastasiades and other officials.
Later on, a prayer was delivered at the Imprisoned Graves within the central prisons and wreaths were laid on the graves of those who died during the 1955-1959 struggle.
Torchbearers from the Limassol reservist commandos’ association carried a flame from Chlorakas, where Grivas first landed, and placed at the monument.
In Larnaca, celebrations began with peals of bells in all churches of the town and with the hoisting of the flag at the Eleftheria Statue Square. Events were also held in Paphos. In each town the government was represented by cabinet ministers and other senior officials to mark the occasion.
In January this year the UK government announced it had reached an out-of-court settlement to the tune of £1m over claims by 33 Eoka veterans who said they were tortured whilst in detention during the insurgency.
It stressed that the £1m (€1.1m) settlement did not constitute any admission of liability and set no precedent in respect of any potential future claims against the UK government. Legal costs will be assessed at a later date.
The British government said the decision aimed to turn a page in the UK’s relations with the island.
“It is a matter of regret for the UK government that the transition of Cyprus from British administration to independence should have been preceded by five years of violence and loss of life, affecting all residents of the island,” the British government said in a statement.
The case concerned claims filed against the UK government in July 2015 by 35 individuals (since reduced to 33) after Foreign Office documents released in July 2012 described claims of torture and abuse during the Eoka insurgency.