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Sirens and services to mark coup anniversary

The sirens sound every year on July 15 and 20 to mark the coup and invasion respectively

Air raid sirens will sound at 8.20am on Thursday to mark the start of the coup 47 years ago to overthrow president Makarios.

Church services for those killed during the coup will be held across the island as will events to mark the anniversary.

Backed by Greece’s junta, National Guard units and members of the Eoka B paramilitary organisation temporarily ousted Makarios on July 15, 1974, and replaced him with pro-Enosis (union with Greece) former Eoka fighter and newspaper publisher Nicos Sampson.

In response to the coup, Turkey invaded the island five days later. It still occupies 37 per cent of its territory.

The coup collapsed after eight days and along with it ended the reign of the military junta in Greece, which ruled with an iron fist since April 21, 1967.

According to official government data, 98 people were killed during the coup.

Using the code ‘Alexander has entered hospital,’ the head of Greek military forces in Cyprus Brigadier Michalis Georgitsis notified the junta leadership of the start of the coup against Makarios.

It was around 8.20am when tank columns emerged on the streets of Nicosia, headed for the presidential palace, where Makarios was meeting with a group of Egyptian children.

The meeting was interrupted by gunfire and Makarios was led away by his minders down a passage on the side of the compound that was left unguarded by the coupists.

He eventually reached a British military base from where he was flown out of the country.

That same afternoon, Sampson was appointed president of the republic. His presidency only lasted eight days, earning him the moniker Oktaimeros, which roughly translates to eight-day man or president.

 

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