Residents of villages in or next to the buffer zone where the government is currently installing barbed wire have held a demonstration against it, saying the wire is affecting some people’s livelihoods.
Those that took part in the protest on Saturday afternoon were from the villages of Akaki, Avlona, Denia, Astromeritis, Peristerona, Katokopia and Mammari.
The demonstrators were demanded the wire be pushed back so that residents and farmers have unimpeded access to their land and their homes.
‘We remind that Akaki is not occupied’ one of their signs said.
A petition signed by those taking part and of the region said that while they understand the problems in the buffer zone, it is the responsibility of the state, the UN and the EU to solve these problems without taking measures that irreparably affect the area.
They insist that as part of a government plan to put barbed wire along an 11km stretch of the buffer zone, up to the Nicosia airport to prevent the crossing of migrants, many homes and tracts of farming land have now been enclosed within the buffer zone.
Their resolution also said that basic human rights are being violated and lives are being put at risk.
“Our land is our life and our living, we will struggle to keep it and we won’t stop until the barbed wire is removed,” they said.
Interior Minister Nicos Nouris has previously said “there is absolutely no intention to abandon the buffer zone and neither does the placement constitute a border demarcation for the Republic.
“There will be all the support necessary for our farmers,” he added.
The interior ministry has said the installation of barbed wire intends to combat illegal immigration of third-country nationals and prevent threats to public safety, as per Cyprus’ obligations according to the Green Line Regulation.
The regulation provides that the control and effective surveillance of the entire length of the Green Line is an obligation of the government to prevent the illegal entry of third-country nationals who do not have a residence permit or a valid travel document, the ministry said.
Large number of migrants have in recent months passed through the buffer zone and entered the Republic through these areas.