Cyprus:still occupied, 40 years on

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Rain, hail or shine, Greek Australian Cypriots stand strong outside the Turkish Consulate in Melbourne to protest the invasion. Photo: Kostas Deves.

Greek Australian Cypriots will march all around the country to mark the 40 year anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

For many Greek Cypriots living in Australia, the wounds created by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus have never healed.
40 years on, and Cyprus is still occupied and divided. Greeks who had homes in the Turkish occupied part of the island have no way of knowing if their fig tree still blooms, if the walls still hold their family photos, or if their grandparents graves aren’t overgrown.

Over a third of Cyprus’ population was forcibly removed in 1974 and almost 300,000 settlers from Turkey were brought over to colonise the area.
Houses were taken, business gutted new buildings built to house a Turkish community on Greek land.

The illegal sale of property and land owned by Greek Cypriots still continues today.

Small reprieves over the years to let Greeks through to the 37 per cent of the land now in Turkish hands have created more bad memories than put people’s minds at rest.

For many Australian Cypriots who settled in Australia after the invasion, they have never returned to their homes. Their passion is still as strong as it was 40 years ago, and this weekend, and throughout next week, thousands will take to the streets to protest against the illegal occupation.

Most major cities will be hosting events, with the Secretary of the Council of Ministers of Cyprus, Theodosis A. Tsiolas and the High Commissioner of Cyprus to Australia Ioanna Malliotis attending most events around the country.

Commemorations started in Melbourne on Thursday, with young and old braving the icy and rainy weather to stand vigil outside the Turkish Consulate, demanding an end to the occupation and the withdrawal of troops.

Last night, a sombre group gathered to host a candlelight vigil and human chain outside the Parliament of Victoria, aiming to remind the government of the plight of Cyprus.

A supper was also held in the memory of the Cypriot refugees who were forced to leave their homes.

Sunday 20 July marks the day of the invasion, and Melbourne and Western Australia will both host a church service, with WA continuing on to a wreath laying service and Melbourne organising a city march to the steps of Parliament.

Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney will follow on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday respectively, hosting their own vigils with Mr Tsiolas and Ms Malliotis attending.

Melbourne:
Sunday 20 July:
10:00am: Church service at Saint Efstathios, 221 Dorcas St, South Melbourne
1:00pm: Protestors to gather near the Greek shops in Lonsdale Street. The group will then march to the Victorian Parliament where speeches will commence.
Secretary of the Council of Ministers of Cyprus, Theodosis A. Tsiolas and the High Commissioner of Cyprus to Australia Ioanna Malliotis will address the crowd.

Perth:
Sunday 20 July:
10:00am: Church service at Evangelismos Church
12:00pm: Wreath laying service at the war memorial in Kings Park by the Cypriot community of WA

Adelaide:
Wednesday 23 July:
7:00pm: Commemorative service at the Cypriot community of South Australia, 8 Barrpowell St
Welland, SA, with Theodosis A. Tsiolas and Ioanna Malliotis to attend.

Brisbane:
Friday 25 July:
6:00pm: Church service at Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George
Followed by laying of wreaths and commemorative reception at Cyprus House, 2 Vulture Street, West End, Qld.
Mr Theodosis A. Tsiolas and Mrs Ioanna Malliotis will address the crowd

Sydney:
Sunday 27 July:
10:00am: Memorial service at Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Redfern
Theodosis A. Tsiolas to meet with Archbishop Stylianos
1:30pm: Wreath laying at Martin Place, followed by protest march through George Street
3:30pm: Speeches and cultural program the Cypriot Community of Sydney and NSW

source: Neos Kosmos

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