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Demonstrators call for Denktash's resignation
2003-02-27 18:00:43

Nicosia, Feb 27 (CNA) - Holding olive leaf wreaths and blue balloons, and waving EU flags, more than 45 thousand Turkish Cypriots gathered in occupied Nicosia, demonstrating in favour of the Annan plan and the accession of a united Cyprus to the European Union.

Demonstrators gathered in Inonu square, in the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia, chanting slogans such as ''Hail brotherhood of peoples'', ''Denktash, resign'' and ''You cannot prevent peace''. There were only a few Turkish flags or ''flags'' of the Denktash regime.

The rally coincided with the visit to Cyprus of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in an effort to make headway towards a negotiated settlement on the basis of a third proposal he has submitted to the two leaders at their meetings here Wednesday.

Shops and business closed while teachers also attended the morning rally.

US State Department's Coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Weston, accompanied by US Ambassador in Nicosia, Michael Klosson, went to the occupied areas to watch the rally.

Speakers stressed the rally was a message to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and asked him to listen to the ''people's will'', while everyone talked about the need to hold a referendum. Demonstrators jeered whenever reference was made to Denktash.

They also said that demonstrations would continue until a solution is found, while one speaker said, ''If there is no solution, there will be a social uprising''.

Attending the rally were leader of the United Cyprus party Izzet Izcan, Mehmet Ali Talat of the Republican Turkish Party, Communal Liberation Party leader Hussein Angolemli and the Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce Ali Erel.

Talat said ''today, history is being made'', adding reports that two bombs were allegedly discovered were mere provocative actions aiming to prevent the rally from being held. Erel said no explanation was given about the ''packages: that were found.

Other speakers said ''we want a solution for democracy, for peace and not for the money, we don't want Turkey to be dragged to human rights courts''.|

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of its territory.


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