On January 26, Sunday, hundreds of young Cypriots participated in a march to demand the immediate closure of foreign military bases on the island, and called for the peaceful political reunification of Cyprus. The mobilization was organized by the communist youth organization United Democratic Youth Organisation (EDON), which is affiliated to the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL). Activists of the youth wings of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), United Cyprus Party (BKP), TDP and SOL Hareket also joined the mobilization.
On Sunday morning, EDON’s anti-imperialist march took place from the Troodos square to the British Royal Airforce (RAF) Base. The mobilization continued in the afternoon and concluded with a cultural event in Platania. It was organized in the backdrop of increasing NATO presence in the region and Turkish aggression near the island, along with the stagnation of the peaceful reunification process of the ethnically and politically divided Cyprus.
Following the event, EDON issued a statement criticizing the current government of the Republic of Cyprus for its handling of the reunification process. It also appealed to the government to put genuine efforts to peacefully resolve the Cyprus dispute. The statement demanded that the government stop deceiving the people by fanning hyper-nationalism and chauvinism, and demanded an immediate closure of the foreign military bases on the island catering to the imperialist interests of NATO and the EU.
EDON had also condemned the commemoration ceremony for Georgios Grivas, an ethnic chauvinist and the founder of the right-wing paramilitary group EOKA, who was involved in the persecution of communists and Turkish Cypriots during the ethnic-conflict on the island.
The Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus won independence from the British in 1960. However, Britain retained the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and some other military installations.
The British colonial administration that directly ruled Cyprus for decades purposefully divided the islanders on ethnic lines in order to weaken the independence movement. Even after attaining freedom from the British, ethnic tensions prevailed between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, with ultra-nationalists on both sides fanning the flames. Such tensions culminated in the bifurcation of the island in 1974 following a military coup in Cyprus with Greek support and the Turkish military occupation of the Northern Cyprus in retaliation. Since then, communists and other progressive sections on the island, along with the Cyprus Peace Council and the World Peace Council, have been striving for reconciliation and the peaceful reunification of the country.