Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman said that if there were any further demonstrations held next week, the police would not use tear gas again.
Last week five people including a journalist were overcome by tear gas used by the police to quell the demonstration by the Turkish Cypriot Livestock Union who were trying to reach the Turkish Embassy in Nicosia.
The prime minister that citizens had the right to free assembly and to hold demonstration marches. However, he reminded that it is important not to forget that in the event of a violation of the law, for example, damage to private property or the property of the police, that is unacceptable.
Erhürman stated that the General Director of Police had taken the initiative to use tear gas in order not to use more police and that the police had acted to protect public order. Nevertheless, the prime minister said that tear gas will not be used again. He said:
“If the demonstrations continue, tear gas will not be used. But everyone has to remember that our obligation is to act with responsibility. Holding meetings and demonstrations marches is a right, however, it does not grant the right to commit a crime….We are all aware of the fact that they [farmers] are going through economic straits. We always emphasise that at such times it is necessary for us all to act with a sense of social responsibility and unity…I say, once again, that the doors of dialogue and consultation are open during the ongoing protests.”
The farmers have said that they would continue to protest next week after meetings with the prime minister and Finance Minister Serdar Denktas brought no results. Farmers, who are complaining at the rising cost of barley, fuel and lack of subsidies due to the Lira crisis, have said they will go out of business without government aid.
Kibris Postasi, LGC News