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Speech by the General Secretary of AKEL Stefanos Stefanou at the anti-fascist mobilisation


Monday 4 September 2023, Limassol


  • No to fascism! No to the extreme right! No more tolerance towards their actions and the pogroms they organise!
  • No to racist rhetoric! No to bigotry and intolerance!
  • No to the exploitation of the migration issue seeking to promote anti-social policies for the political survival of those defending the inhumane ideology of neo-Nazism, neo-fascism.

That is precisely what we have come here to declare.

We also came here to demand that the President of the Republic and his government protect the lives and property of ordinary people.

We came here to demand a decisive and effective response to the extreme right-wing violence we saw unfolding in Chloraka and Limassol, with both Cypriot and immigrant victims.

The N. Christodoulides government has failed to confront the hate incidents and pogroms.

It must admit this and do the right thing. It must identify and bring to justice those who organised, were at the forefront and took part in these incidents. Witnesses do exist, visual evidence does exist. There is no excuse whatsoever.

This is where the government will be judged on, namely whether it has the political will to punish in an exemplary manner and prevent such incidents from being repeated.

The government is also called upon to record the damage caused by the vandalism which took place in Molos in Limassol and Chloraka and compensate the owners of damaged property.

It also has a responsibility to confront the fake news on the internet, which act as a spark for racist outbursts.

We are here to demand the elaboration and implementation – at long last – of a comprehensive policy on migration, which is a complex, multi-faceted and demanding issue.

The absence of such a policy not only generates many of the problems, but constantly exacerbates and feeds them back, while the consequences are paid by all, Cypriots and foreign nationals alike.

Immigration policy must be based on humanity, solidarity and international law. Otherwise, pompous statements and the tears shed every time children drown on our doorstep, as has happened recently with the shipwreck in Pylos, will resemble the hypocritical woes of the Pharisees.

Immigration policy must be based on international conventions, agreements, resolutions and decisions of international courts and organisations such as the International Court of Justice, the UN and the Council of Europe.

Dear friends,

No one can pretend to be surprised at what has happened during these past few days. It was completely predictable. The egg of the fascist snake was incubating for years. The situation was simmering, bubbling up and becoming worse.

The situation deteriorated due to the absence of an immigration policy. In the ten years of the DISY Democratic Rally government, adequate measures were not taken and no coherent policies were implemented.

While the Anastasiades Government agreed at an EU level to all the decisions without exception which trap thousands of refugees and migrants in the frontline countries, such as Cyprus, it did not take the necessary prompt measures to handle migration flows.

  • It did not staff the Asylum Service.
  • It did not implement a proper, fair, speedy and efficient procedure for the examination of applications.
  • It failed to elaborate integration policies.
  • It did not provide the necessary infrastructure.

The N. Anastasiades DISY government was content with the installation of the wretched Interior Minister Nikos Nouri’s barbed wire fence in the Akaki area, which caused more problems, both for the residents of the area, but also with the United Nations.

All this, despite the fact that the Republic of Cyprus has been granted approximately EUR 200 million in EU funds for asylum and integration purposes.

The results of their incompetence and unwillingness to address the migration issue rationally, on the basis of international law and without dogmatism, are there for all to see – in the reception centre in Pournara, in Chloraka, in Limassol.

The situation was being exacerbated by the courtships of the DISY government, other political parties and the mass media with the neo-Nazi ELAM party and the extreme right more broadly. Together they developed a rhetoric which put Cypriots on a collision course with migrants, cultivating fear and hatred, using lies, scaremongering and exploiting real problems.

  • We have repeatedly warned of the explosive situation that was developing.
  • AKEL has on many occasions warned about the activity of the far right and its attempt to exploit the immigration issue seeking to gain political capital.
  • We have on numerous occasions denounced racist rhetoric and behaviour not only by the far right, but also by the government, other political parties and the mass media.

We have always stood against and combated the far right and all those policies that feed and strengthen it.

We have always pointed out the need for the implementation of a comprehensive policy on immigration that includes:

  • Policies and actions on asylum and integration.
  • Adequate staffing of infrastructures and competent services.
  • Speedy, fair and efficient procedures for screening and examining asylum applications.
  • Humane and dignified structures.
  • A decisive crackdown on human trafficking and traffickers.
  • Measures and an integrated human resources development plan must be applied so that migrants are not doubly exploited as a cheap labour force, but they should work with dignity where there is a need for regulated labour relations.
  • All EU member states must take on specific responsibility for the distribution of migratory flows in accordance with the population and the capacities of each EU state.

AKEL submitted specific proposals for avoiding “ghettoization” in poor and degraded areas and for the social integration of migrants.

We toured areas where there are increased problems and tensions, such as in Pournara and attended meetings to address them.

Pournara is a prime example of the lack of political will and inability of the Anastasiades government to handle the migration issue.

This applies to the case of Chloraka too. An inadequate building that could not provide even the most elementary services has been turned into a hotbed of infection and numerous problems. The previous government did not even implement its own decrees for the closure of the place, apparently because the owner had “contacts” and belonged to the political spectrum of the government ruling forces.

As things stand, there is an immediate, urgent need to promote specific measures and implement a comprehensive policy on migration. AKEL will continue to demand this, as it has been doing for years.

We will continue to submit specific proposals. We will continue to be where the problems surface. And that is what we will do the day after tomorrow, on Wednesday. A big AKEL delegation will tour Chloraka and have meetings with relevant bodies and residents of the area.

AKEL and the People’s Movement of the Left will continue to stand against far-right violence. The isolation of ideological concepts promoting hatred and their condemnation is what the overwhelming majority of Cypriot society demands. AKEL joins its voice with everyone who rejects violence and intolerance. The challenge here is not “left or right”, “communists or fascists”. It is everyone – without exception – democratic and rational people, to stand against the ideology of the club, hatred and pogroms.

In Chloraka and Limassol, Cypriot society experienced moments of shame, images that remind us of the darkest, most rotten and inhumane things that humanity has experienced in other times.

Right-wing hooded men beat up people just because they were foreign or looked foreign! They hit people because they looked darker than they should…They hit foreign workers, people who work hard day and night and toil honestly to make a living. They hit tourists who are leaving Cyprus in fear. They beat Greek Cypriots and media workers because they were there. They destroyed property, looted, robbed and terrorized unsuspecting people.

That’s precisely why we are here today.

We, who are the collective force of humanity, solidarity and democracy against hatred, violence and scoundrels, standing with determination against the hooded thugs.

We stand opposing them with raised fists against the clubs!

They will not pass!

This is Cyprus, which does not forget that fascism destroyed our homeland!

Here is Cyprus, which saw many of its people for years live in tents for our refugees that fascism created with the crimes it committed in 1974!

Here is Cyprus, where thousands of its children had to leave in search of a life abroad!

Here is Cyprus, in which the blood that was shed for democracy has not yet dried up!

Here is Cyprus that creates and does not destroy!

Here, we build for tomorrow, we do not destroy what remains!

Here is Cyprus – the Cyprus of Humanity, Solidarity and Democracy!

And this is the Cyprus we shall continue to defend!

The Cyprus which we will continue to construct!



The government is called upon to protect the lives and property of citizens from ultra-right violence


Society's calls for action to be taken are being ignored