The United Cyprus Hunters Association, a political party formed in 2018, is organising a demonstration against the lockdown measures which will impact their hunting season.
The party is calling on the roughly 60,000 registered hunters and fishermen to demonstrate outside the presidential palace at 5pm on October 28.
“So that we can all together shout a NO. NO to the superficial decisions from those in charge,” their announcement on Monday read.
Recent measures brought in by the government to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus has clashed with the hunters’ timetable, namely the curfew from 11pm-5am in Limassol and Paphos – but widely expected to be extended elsewhere should cases continue to rise.
“Even in periods of total lockdown the presence of people in nature, either individually or in a family or close group, does not pose a danger,” the party said.
“It is time for some to realise that we will no longer be silent victims.”
Elias Pekris, president of the Cyprus hunting federation, voiced similar concerns – stressing that by the very nature of the sport hunters are socially distancing.
“In any case, a hunter is 100m away from other people and it is done in a small group of close friends or family – the same people that they would meet in their house with,” Pekris told the Cyprus Mail.
He said that efforts have been made to contact the health ministry in order to have a meeting, where the scientific reasoning behind the curtailment can be provided.
“If they [health ministry] believe there is any reason to place hunters, who will be on mountains anyway, into these restrictions then explain it to us,” Pekris said.
“The risk of spreading the virus in this way is, in our opinion, minimal.”
But many people are having to make sacrifices during the pandemic, why should the hunters be exempt?
“If hunting actually had a risk of spreading the virus then we would be the first to sacrifice this hunting season,” Pekris said.
The current hunting season begins on Sunday and lasts until December 27.
“They would lose the season because we do not have the option to move the season forward, when the [epidemiological] situation gets better,” Pekris said.
“There is a law and the hunting season ends in December because in January and February it is the mating season,” he said.