"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cyprus - After refugees protest, UK forces destroy the houses provided by bulldozer

On Thursday 18th October there was a demonstration outside Xylotympou roundabout in the British sovereign base area of Dhekelia camp , in the Sovereign base Area of of Cyrpus ( this roundabout is a historically important forum for protest - the UK forces helpfully provide Portaloos) which Cypriot It was demonstratin by Iraqi asylum seekers who are resident on the base who are seeking access to the UK and UK passports. Police kept citizens away and Photography is illegal on the base area.

On October 22nd 2007 Lord Patel posted the story Cyprus - a leaky hole for refugees seeking asylum in the EU

Well things have moved on ...and they have left UK expatriates and many others feeling very concerned about the UK authority's actions.

At the Akrotiri UK Sovereign base Area in Cyprus seven Iraqi and one Iranian asylum seeker from the Dhekelia base (over 50 miles distant) , who had previously demonstrated as Lord Patel previously witnessed, scaled a 14 metre fire service training tower on the RAF Episkopi base waving a banner "We demand the British Passport" , they threatened to jump if they were not provided British passports. They are said to have into British sovereign territory on the island between 2001 and 2003 through the loosely patrolled border with the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.

The RAF / UK authorities would not force the men down, a spokesman said. "It would endanger them and us," he said. Reuters and AP reported that Britain's border and immigration service had assessed their applications as asylum seekers (and had visited tem from the UK on the island) and rejected them.

The 8 men have been living on weekly allowances of £40 each ( as they have no work permits) and housed for seven years at Richmond Village at Dhekelia SBA in neat well kept housing where some had "married" and had children.

A Captain Ulvert from the Akrotiri SBA said “Ultimately, they are the responsibility of the Republic of Cyprus. From the outset, the group was informed that they had to get asylum from Cyprus, but they said they do not trust the Republic.”.

Tjhe Cyprus Mail on 12th January said that the bases maintain the ( quasi-legal) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SBA and the Republic of Cyprus clearly states that asylum seekers are the Republic’s responsibility. Based on this agreement, the SBA asked the group to leave Dhekelia by January 14.

While the seven men were still in the tower on the morning of 13th January, base authorities moved in to evict their families from their houses (owned by the UK taxpayer) in Dhekelia on the other side of the island where they had lived for the past seven years.

“They were evicted from their houses. They will be allowed to pick up their personal effects from SBA customs,” said Captain Ulvert.

“They won’t be allowed back into Richmond Village. They shouldn’t try to re-enter. It’s not in their interest. We know who they are. They know their best option is to appeal to the Republic of Cyprus”.

The operation, which started at 12pm , specifically targeted the families of the eight protesters, while the other Iraqi immigrants living at Dhekelia were allowed to remain in SBA housing.

A total of 40 Iraqi immigrants, including 22 children, in addition to the eight men on the roof, were housed at Dhekelia ( and had arrived separately ) but only the homes of the eight protesters in Richmond village were targeted.

The eviction operation started with the cutting of electricity and water supply. Then, windows and doors were removed from the houses, to render them totally uninhabitable.

A bulldozer was also on site and it is expected that the operation was evetually completed with the demolition of houses. “These houses are dangerous and not fit to be inhabited as they are made of asbestos. They must be demolished,” said Nikos Pandehis, Deputy Police Director at Dhekelia Pandehis, evidently showing extreme concern for their welfare but evidently little for the remaining refugees occupying the identical adjacent houses. (the Dhekelai base has vast quantities of empty service accomodation due to running down numbers of servicement on the base to some 300)

According to Nikos Pandehis, Deputy Police Director at Dhekelia SBA the SBA is not trying to punish the eight protesters by removing their Dhekelia housing, but is merely enforcing a previously scheduled eviction.

“The eviction took place because they are illegal immigrants. Temporary housing was provided to them at Richmond, but they have stayed here for seven years.” said Nikos Pandehis, Deputy Police Director at Dhekelia SBA

This treatment of these people is monstrous. The MoU - "Whereas on 20th February 2003 at Nicosia the Governments of the Republic of Cyprus (“the Republic”) and of the United Kingdom respectively signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the manner in which they would continue co-operating in relation to illegal migrants and asylum seekers on the Island of Cyprus:"

(1) Any person recognised as a refugee under this Ordinance shall -

(a) have the right –(i) to fair and proper treatment ...etc.,

The complete document can be read here.

These wretched, hopeless people, the flotsam of the wars the west wage , either directly or by proxy have been washed up , in admirable fashion we have helped them, fed, them housed ... and it appears, allowed them to undergo a form of marriage ( a status because their own is uncertain in law , itself uncertain) and have children. Now they have been , because they have sought after 7 long uncertain years some action (and it appears the costs are of concern) - they have literally been thrown out on the street. Many people from the UK are ashamed of their Government's actions - which have failed to be reported in the MSM.

Britain Reconsider

Unsurprisingly this protest has also coincided with a newly formed protest group calling itself ‘Britain Reconsider’ that protested outside Akrotiri bases on January 4th to demonstrate against the British Bases’ presence and British policy towards Cyprus. (reports from Cyprus Mail)

The group formed has been formed it appears by students who are calling on Cypriots from across the political spectrum to join to voice their exasperation with British policy on Cyprus and to note their disappointment with the Cypriot political leadership - especially since they have not reacted to Britain signing a strategic partnership with Turkey on October 23.

This group who claim not to be affiliated to any political group have a leader in Andreas Apostolou,wjo said on local radio proto that the initiative was launched by university, college and school students.

We are against the Bases. We find it unacceptable that in 2008, a European country has occupation forces on its territory, because that is what the Bases are, that belong to another European country.”

Around 120 people arrived outside RAF Akrotiri last January 9th at around 7.45pm, in 60-odd cars from Nicosia and Limassol. According to the same source, the group was well organised and answered to the commands of one man using a megaphone.

TV footage of the protest ( Satellite vans arrived prior to the protest) showed the group marching towards the gate waving Greek flags and carrying a large banner with the words ‘This land does not want you’. No Cyprus flags were seen.

The mob chanted various slogans, including ‘Fire to the bases’ and ‘No more excuses’.

As the crowd neared the gate, a number of hooded men appeared out of nowhere and began kicking members of the SBA police. The scenes turned ugly as violence between police and protestors ensued. The demonstrators threw sticks, large stones and flares while metal bars were also used against police.

The Cyprus Mail said on January 17th that 9 Syrians and 31 Iraqis were caught crossing from the north on Tuesday night and yesterday morning in a joint operation between Cyprus police and Sovereign Base Area (SBA) police.

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