Yesterday, 22 members of BES, the Council Workers union, were arrested by police and taken to court. However Judge Rasit rejected a police appeal for the strikers to be kept in custody and they were released pending trial.
After his release, BES union leader, Savas Bozat, holding a press conference, said that Nicosia Council employees were now owed four months’ salary and that they would continue striking until these had been paid. He continued that Nicosia Council and the Government had carried on for eight months with no solution and were now turning to the police and army to pressurise the strikers. Mr Bozat claimed that his arrest had been personally requested by Prime Minister Irsen Kucuk.
The Trade Union Congress held a general strike yesterday in support of BES and large crowds joined in the demonstrations, showing strong support. The only exception was at Ercan airport where the Government has delayed the strike by ordering a 60 day cooling off period.
Support also came from the head of the main opposition party, CTP. Mr Yorganciglu claimed that the ruling UBP party was in fact practicing state terrorism. Rather than solving the long running dispute in Nicosia it was ordering police to terrorise the strikers.