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Hundreds protest Bases’ role in Gaza (updated, photos, video)

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Demonstrators outside the British Base of Akrotiri

Hundreds marched on to Akrotiri base on Sunday against the British Bases turning Cyprus into an “aggressive launch pad” for the war in Gaza.

Carrying flags and banners, around 500 people marched from the nearby environmental centre to the gates of Akrotiri.

Banners said ‘Leave Cyprus out of your Imperialist plans’, ‘British Bases out of Cyprus’, Stop Funding Genocide’ and ‘You Have Blood on Your Hands’.

“Cyprus is a vivid example that military bases do not solve problems, do not offer stability and security, but intensify militarisation and make tension permanent,” Cyprus Peace Council (CPC) president Tassos Costeas said at the event.

“We condemn the direct and now proven involvement of the United States and Britain in the bombing of neighbouring countries. The bombardment of Gaza, under the pretext of Israel’s right to self-defense, and the bombing of Yemen, under the pretext of piracy incidents in the Horn of Africa, without the permission of the UN Security Council, constitute serious violations of international law and crimes against the civilian population,” he added.

Messages from the World Peace Council, the British Peace Assembly and the Palestinian Embassy in Cyprus were read out at the protest, in addition to a speech by Palestinian Siadi al-Ada who reportedly lost most of his family members in Israel’s bombing of Rafah.

Demonstrators reiterated their demand for “an end to Cyprus’ involvement via the British Bases in the genocide being committed against the fraternal Palestinian people.”

CPC said its long-standing position is for an immediate end to the presence of the British Bases in Cyprus, which it said pose constant danger to the security of the island and the people of the region.

“We once again denounce the use and involvement of the British Bases in Cyprus in the murderous airstrikes being launched against the peoples of the region. The ongoing military operations in the Gaza Strip and Yemen are creating dangers of a general flare-up in the Middle East,” it said.

It also denounced the illegal presence of US troops in Akrotiri and the creation of an American military base within the British Base of Akrotiri and the illegal presence of 3,000 American soldiers.

“Cyprus is neither a US-NATO, nor a British aggressive launching pad. We the Cypriot people do not want our country to be involved in any way in the bloody massacre taking place in the Gaza Strip”.

This, the group said, is why it is calling for the immediate dismantling of the British bases, which it described as a remnant of the colonial regime.

“They maim the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Cyprus and put the peoples of the region in constant danger, violating international law,” CPC said.

Demonstrators also called for an immediate and complete ceasefire and the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza, in addition to an end of the occupation of Palestine.

“We demand freedom for Palestine and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, as provided for in the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”

Meanwhile, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, it added, are “struggling to make our homeland a bridge of peace and cooperation between the peoples.”

A memorandum was handed over to the British Bases by members of the CPC.

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