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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Minister to meet local communities over barbed wire

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Buffer zone community representatives are meeting Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Friday to discuss their demand for removal of barbed wire placed along the Green Line.

The placing of barbed wire, under the instructions of the previous government intended to discourage illegal migration, has proven to be more of a headache for residents than a deterrent for migrants, leaders of the initiative claim.

Ioannou said earlier this week that he understood the problem the residents have with the barbed wire and said no more would be installed.

Speaking on behalf of the communities of Astromeritis, Peristerona, Avlona and Akaki, Aphrodite Loukrou told CyBC that although the new minister had publicly stated there were to be no more wire they are calling for the removal of what has already been installed as well as a guarantee that gates in the wire will not be made operational.

The reasons for community objection are both practical and ethical, Loukrou explained.

She said that on one hand, farmers cut off from access roads are currently inconvenienced by having to navigate three times the usual distance to get to their fields. Shepards are likewise unable to freely put their flocks out to pasture.

On the other hand, Loukrou said, is the ethical anomaly that communities are being asked to carve up their own land and create borders in areas they have been using freely for years.

Residents of around 50 homes and various factories are affected as well as farmers, Loukrou said.

The operation of the gates, which was to have been started in June 2022, was thankfully a non-starter so far, Loukrou said.

The system would have involved residents of the area having to provide their personal details to a central station and upon arrival at the gate following a confirmation process via intercom to be allowed through.

Anyone in the area who was not registered in the database would have to provide reasons for being present in the vicinity.

Opponents of the proposed system carried out peaceful protests last year hoping to bring an end to the unpopular course of action.

Residents of nearby communities slated to also have the wire installed said they would take dynamic measures if it was installed.

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