The Greek Cypriot police have reported that two Turkish Cypriots were injured on Monday after they were attacked in their cars by pupils out on the streets to protest the TRNC’s unilateral declaration of independence.
Reports said the attacks were carried out by members of the extreme right-wing National Popular Front ELAM.
The anniversary of Independence in the North is 15th November, however, as it fell on Sunday this year, the demonstrations were postponed until Monday, a school day.
Police said there were three separate incidents in Nicosia. Two Turkish Cypriots were treated in hospital – one of whom suffered an eye injury. Police could not give further detail about their condition. Two of the cases were reported to the authorities.
Several people have been questioned but no arrests were made.
Police deputy spokesperson Nikoleta Tyrimou said the force had a plan in place to police the organised demonstrations.
ELAM, she said, marched from its HQ on Naxos Street, off Makarios Avenue, towards the Ledra Palace crossing. The group, which included high school students, was escorted by police and no trouble was recorded.
The far right group denied any involvement and described the reports as lies and mud-slinging.
President Nicos Anastasiades immediately condemned the incidents, describing the perpetrators as foolish people who did a disservice to efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.
“The only thing such unacceptable behaviour consolidate is the distrust between the two communities over the possibility of peaceful coexistence,” the president said in a statement.
“Beyond this however, they also provide arguments to those who cite the need for guarantees and guarantor powers,” he said, referring to the reunification talks.
Anastasiades said the state would not tolerate such behaviour from isolated or minority groups who “invoke pseudo patriotism with the aim of dividing our country once and for all”.
Anastasiades apologised to the Turkish Cypriots, saying that the incident did not reflect the great majority of Greek Cypriots.
“I express my deepest regrets to our Turkish Cypriot compatriots over today’s unacceptable incident, which does not reflect the feelings of the overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriots for peaceful coexistence and hopeful prospects for the future.”
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci said the perpetrators of the attacks must be arrested and brought to justice.