Hundreds of people took part in a protest march on Saturday morning demanding the rejection of the revised regional development plan for Akamas, with support from political parties.

Participants in the ‘Save Akamas, Hour Zero’ protest march gathered outside the ministry of interior at 10.30 am, marching towards the Presidential Palace, where they stayed for about 30 minutes before resuming at 11.55 their march back to the interior ministry.

Demonstrators blew whistles, played percussion and held banners with slogans such as “Akamas belongs to our children,” “SOS Sea Caves”, “Aphrodite is Angry” and “Leave Akamas untouched”.

The protest, which took place with the support of the federation of environmental organisations, was also joined by Akel MPs and leading members of the Green Party.

The organisers told the Cyprus News Agency that they will continue their actions until the revised plan is rejected.

In a statement published earlier, organisers Cyprus Natural Coastline and Save Akamas / Save Cyprus said the revised plan “is entirely incompatible with the aims of preserving our common natural and cultural heritage, as well as with the sustainable development of the local communities of the Akamas Peninsula”.

The organisers also said they demand the rejection of the revised plan, and for radical amendment of its provisions.

The statement pointed out several issues with the revised plan, saying it promotes “rampant development through the policies of isolated housing and agrotourist farms beyond the development limits, the designation of three areas for unified developments with large and multiple uses near the Androlikou Gorges, the Rocks of Ineia and the Gorges of Arodes and Kathikas, as well as the creation of a new Quarrying Zone adjacent to the gorges of Androlikou and of a new Tourist Zone adjacent to the Rocks of Ineia”.

This is despite these provisions having already been rejected in a 2021 report by the environment department, “while reports from both competent authorities and environmental organisations prove beyond any reasonable doubt and scientific reservation that these provisions will have severe, negative, cumulative, and irreversible impacts on the natural environment and the unique landscape of the Akamas Peninsula,” the organisers added.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people from the arts, culture and academia have joined a petition demanding the rejection and full review of the Akamas plan saying as a Cypriot society “we failed to protect our environment”. The 450 signatories include composer Alkinoos Ioannides, singers Anna Vissi and Michalis Hadjiyiannis as well as actors such as Popi Avraam and Varnavas Kyriazis.