Annual peace march embraced by all

AROUND 200 youngsters from Greek and Turkish Cypriot groups staged their annual Bi-communal March for Peace yesterday in Nicosia aimed at uniting both sides.

The Turkish Cypriot marchers passed the checking point at Ledra Palace at around 5.50pm and met the amassed Greek Cypriot marchers at 6pm at the Markos Drakos roundabout in central Nicosia. There the two groups of marchers joined together and marched towards the park at Famagusta Gate where a special ceremony was held.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, one of the chief organisers, Nicos Anastasiou, spoke of the significance of the event,

“We want to march together and send a message that has been said here and there from time to time but we want to say it now, loud and clear, and say it together. We have all suffered and we have all suffered enough.

“We are acknowledging each other’s pain and that we do not distinguish between the pain of Greek Cypriots and the pain of Turkish-Cypriots and that we are no longer one-sided. We want to say together that pain is something that can bring us together and not make a wall between us.”

Anastasiou said it was time Greek and Turkish Cypriots stopped concentrating on their own gains. “All these years both sides were only concentrated in their own gains. Now we are saying that we are all Cypriots and we have suffered enough and symbolically we start in different places, we merge and move forward together and the ceremony at the end of the match we will all hold a minute’s silence in memory of all of those who were lost.”

More special bi-communal activities are planned as Anastasiou explains, “We are working on many future events that could involve marches and we are working all the time on future events.”

The Turkish-Cypriot organiser Sarper Ince says that the bi-communal events are moving forward,
“We used to meet in Pyla but now we have progressed and are holding marches together. The people involved in the marches are mostly from youth groups and youth camps on both sides and it doesn’t involve non-government organisations or political parties.”