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Turkish Cypriots stage rally in occupied Cyprus
2002-11-27 10:57:51

Nicosia, Nov 27 (CNA) - About 20,000 Turkish Cypriots, representing 92 organisations, staged a mass rally today to press on with their demand for the start of negotiations on a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement.

People of all ages, from five to 85, holding placards in favour of accession to the European Union and a better life, participated in the rally, supported by the Communal Liberation Party, the Turkish Republican Party, the United Cyprus Party and the Movement of Patriotic Unity.|

''Yes to the EU - We want a better life'' and ''This land is ours and we shall not be ruled by others'', are some of the slogans on the banners the protestors were holding.

The 92 organisations signed earlier this year a declaration on the vision of Turkish Cypriots on a solution and EU accession and want their leadership to accept the UN proposal as a basis for negotiations.

The so-called Turkish Cypriot police in the occupied areas took additional security measures in and around the venue of the rally.

Ali Erel, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot chamber of commerce, called on both sides on the island to begin negotiations on the basis of the UN proposal and try to amend certain provisions.

The teachers' trade union also participated in the rally, which was heralded in many dailies and other media. Some opted to ignore it and others were obviously concerned about the publicity given to it.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan presented the two sides with a solution plan earlier this month.

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