The latest in an ongoing series of pro-Palestine protests in Cyprus took place in Nicosia’s central Eleftheria square on Saturday.
The protest’s organisers said they had returned to the capital “to raise our voices against the continued genocide in Gaza and the escalation of violence in the occupied territories,” adding the reported figure of nearly 27,000 Gazans killed by Israel since October 7 last year.
They criticised the European Union and other western powers for electing to defund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) “exactly when more aid is needed” after some members of the organisation were accused of being involved in the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.
They added their demands for an immediate permanent ceasefire, and end to the blockade of humanitarian aid entering Gaza, and for Israel to take its “hands off the West Bank”.
Saturday’s protest is the first of its kinds since the Palestinian embassy in Nicosia said it was “stunned and disappointed” at the Cypriot foreign ministry’s characterisation of the genocide charges Israel faces at the International Court of Justice as “inaccurate”.
Ministry spokesman Theodoros Gotsis had spoken of “collateral damage” during an interview with Radio Astra, prompting a vehement response from ambassador Abdallah Attari.
“We were stunned when the 24,000 dead Palestinians, the 60,000 injured, the countless missing under the rubble, and the over 2 million Palestinians displaced without a safe shelter were reported as ‘collateral casualties’,” he said.
Pro-Palestine protests have previously taken place in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca, as well as at the British base in Akrotiri, where 500 people turned out in January to protest the United Kingdom’s use of the base to bomb Yemen after the Yemen-based Houthi movement had attacked ships headed for Israel in the Red Sea.
Pro-Palestine protestors also attended Akel’s youth wing Edon’s march on British military facilities in Troodos at the end of last month.