The Justice of Cyprus Coordinating Committee has organised a number of events in July to remember the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey, ending with the all important Rally for Cyprus on Sunday night.
The aim of the rally is “to call attention to and to protest the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the continuing illegal occupation, the violation of human rights of the people of Cyprus”.
On 20 July 1974, heavily armed Turkish troops invaded the northern part of Cyprus, forcing many Greek Cypriots to flee south. By the time a ceasefire was agreed three days later, Turkish troops held three per cent of the territory of Cyprus.
The committee is using these events to remember the loss of ancestral homelands to an invading army intent on ethnic cleansing of the northern part of the island of its majority Greek / Cypriot inhabitants and creating a permanent partition.
On Wednesday, the committee organised a demonstration outside the Turkish embassy. A small crowd gathered to demonstrate against the Turkish invasion and continuing illegal occupation and to demand the right of return of all refugees to their ancestral homes.
At the demonstration the Cypriot refugees from the 1974 invasion continued their resolve and their commitment towards justice and peace in Cyprus. They reaffirmed that the present status quo is unacceptable and that Turkey’s military presence in the island is a flagrant violation of UN resolutions.
Last night, there was a candlelit vigil outside Parliament House and later a Frugal Supper was held at the Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria Centre, 499 Lygon Street, East Brunswick.
The supper commemorated the hardships suffered by the thousands of Greek-Cypriots who fled their homes and villages as the Turkish army advanced, leaving all their possessions behind. They believed their absence would be temporary, but 37 years later they are still waiting their return. There was a short musical program, speeches by various dignitaries and information regarding the latest developments.
The Rally for Cyprus will begin at 1.00 pm on Sunday on Lonsdale Street and will end at the steps of the Parliament of Victoria. Before the rally, a memorial service for the fallen will take place at 10.00 am at Saint Efstathios Church, Dorcas Street, South Melbourne.