On Friday, 26/1, the demonstration for Peace and Democracy, was called by the Trade Union Platform in northern Cyprus, in response to the attack on Afrika newspaper and the Parliament last Monday by the far right and fascists.
Even though the fascists waged a war against the demonstration on social media, the demo was finally successful! 5000 people, from all cities, including some from the south, 21 trade unions, even some that do not officially participate in the Platform, along with all the organizations of the extra-parliamentary left, local movements and cultural associations participated in the demo.
The parliamentary parties (except of course the far right) have condemned the Monday attack at Afrika offices and the Parliament but they did not call or support the mobilization on Friday except the Communal Democratic Party (TDP).
The far right war against the demo didn’t work.
Initially, the leader of the Renaissance party (YDP), Erhan Arikli, called on the Turkish Cypriot leader to take the necessary measures to avoid any tension while threatening that «if they heard slogans against» the motherland, the Turkish army or the operation on July 20 (invasion), then there will be tension «.
In the social media, even in the event of the demonstration, fascists were writing accusations that the demo was organised by the Greek Cypriots in order to turn Turkish Cypriots against Turkey, that the PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization, would be involved in the process, that there would be provocations, even a terrorist attack, that the fascists would attack, that the police would attack, and more.
Terrorism was extended to the south, in order to stop those Greek Cypriots who wanted to participate!
On Friday morning, Turkish Cypriot police officers blocked journalist Nikola Stegya, who also has Turkish nationality, from crossing from the south to the north where he was invited to the Kibris channel to talk about the events. They did not clarify the reason but told him explicitly that he would be able to pass again the next day (Saturday)!
All day, there were rumours that the police were not allowing the Greek Cypriots to cross the checkpoints, that they would be «photographed» so that they could be arrested when they returned to cross back to the south (by the northern police), or that they would be arrested during the demonstration. Even some members of the Turkish Cypriot left sent messages to Greek Cypriots to ask them not to go along, but none of the above happened.
None of the above happened, and the terrorism of the fascists didn’t manage to stop the demonstration.
Neither terrorism nor driving rain stopped people from participating in the demo!
People from all the cities, and some from the south, started gathering from 5pm at the intersection where the call was made. The crowd was dense, and no one could see where it started or ended.
The Trade Union leadership for the first time determined the slogans that were written on the banners and chanted in the demonstration. They say that this happened because in the platform there were organisations that would not agree with more forward antifascist slogans or slogans against the Turkish government.
The consciousness of the people that came to the demonstration though, was one step ahead of the leadership. They were not just against the oppression of freedom of thought, nor were they only there to support the state institutions.
A large section of the people that came down to the streets, came to show to Erdogan and the fascists that they are here, they exist and that they are united Turkish Cypriots against their interference.
So the dominant slogans were “shoulder to shoulder against fascism” and “Unity, struggle, solidarity”.
The demonstration was very dynamic. The slogans didn’t stop not even for a moment. The people were coming out of the shops and applauding.
When the demonstration was over, and although the protesters were already over 2 hours under the rain, a fairly large part of the demo stood under the offices of the Gray Wolves, shouting anti-fascist slogans.
The participation and energy of the people, shows that there is a mood that the trade unions and the left, the left in north and south, have to pay attention to and continue in order to be able to organise the struggle against fascism and the imposition of Turkey on them.