World Bulletin / News Desk
The president of the Greek Cypriot administration in southern Cyprus fired the chief of his police force on Thursday, accusing him of incompetence after Greek Cypriot right-wing extremists disrupted an event involving the former presdient of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Supporters of ELAM, a far-right Greek Cypriot group which describes itself as an affiliate of the Golden Dawn party of Greece, attempted on Wednesday evening to gatecrash a university debate featuring former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on reunification.
Cyprus's Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities have lived apart since the island was split in a 1974 Turkish invasion following a brief Greek-inspired coup. Reunification talks were re-launched after an 18-month hiatus on February 11.
One person was slightly injured when about 100 protesters holding Greek flags entered the building hosting the event in the southern port city of Limassol. Three people were arrested.
In a letter to police chief Michalis Papageorgiou, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the incident was the latest in a series of security lapses. The termination was with immediate effect, Anastasiades said in a written statement.
Police were also blamed for failures during anti-privatisation protests in February, when demonstrators attempted to storm parliament.
"The state will not tolerate any form of fascist behaviour, from anyone and whomever, not least from an overwhelmingly small minority proclaiming themselves the so-called protectors of Cypriot Hellenism," Anastasiades said, referring to the ELAM group.
ELAM, which polled barely one percent in 2011 parliamentary elections and less in 2013 presidential elections, called Talat's presence a "provocation".
Mehmet Ali Talat has always maintained a pro-peace stance and made great strides towards peace in negotiations during his reign.
The island of Cyprus was split 40 years ago after Turkey exercized its constitutional right as a guarantor of peace in 1974 in reaction to a coup on the government carried out by Greek Cypriot militia group EOKA - a predecessor to ELAM.Last Mod: 28 Mart 2014, 12:15