The government on Monday waded into a row over terminology used by citizens umbrella group Os Dame (Enough), saying it was disappointed the organisation had adopted phrases which undermine the status of the Republic of Cyprus.

The written statement by government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos follows criticism of Os Dame by at least three political parties who admonished the group for referring to the ‘government in the south’.

Defending their statement, Os Dame, which on Saturday staged a protest in Nicosia, accused political parties of trying to distort their message.

“We express our great disappointment over the fact that during a critical period, in view of the five plus one conference, organised citizens’ groups use terminology about the Republic of Cyprus equivalent to those who undermine the status of our state,” Koushos said.

It is extremely saddening that while we condemn Turkey and those undermining the Republic of Cyprus in European and international fora for its violations against the Republic of Cyprus and the legal government, there are groups, even in the minority, on the domestic front which espouse these unacceptable behaviours, he added.

Koushos urged everyone, particularly organised groups and political parties, to rise to the occasion and not permit such phenomena, either actively or through their tolerance.

The umbrella group found themselves in hot water over a post on social media calling for the opening of the checkpoints and the removal of the barbed wire the government installed along the buffer zone in Astromeritis.

“The government in the south immediately used the pandemic to put Cyprus on the path of final partition,” it said.

The Solidarity Movement and ruling Disy chastised the group over their choice of words, with Disy MEP Loucas Fourlas calling on main opposition Akel which, he said, had in the past sided with Os Damai, to condemn this position. Edek also came out with a statement condemning the remark and urging parties to take a position.

Akel’s response was to refer those with queries to the actual group that had used the phrase. “As far as Akel is concerned, it is well known to all that it always refers to the government of the Republic of Cyprus and has never used another term,” it said in a written statement on Monday.

And it went on the counter-offence speaking of “impressive hypocrisy” of all those who will not deign to carry the flag of the Republic of Cyprus or who flirt with a two-state solution behind the backs of the people, to accuse others of lack of patriotism.

Os Damai countered that some politicians had rushed to accuse the group by distorting what they said. The group pointed out they had said “government in the south” and not “of the south.”

“Those who turned the people of this island into “Cypriots of the north and the south” (according to Antonio Guterres), those who fight day and night to turn the Green Line into a border between two states, those who put the country in an endless regime of exclusion and entanglement, it is time to confront the truths told by our movement instead of trying to hide them,” the group said.