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The BBC's Nick Childs
"Both the British and Cypriot governments will hope relations will also weather the latest little storm"
 real 28k

The BBC's Ben Brown
"It's going to take quite a while to repair relations between the British military and the local population"
 real 56k

UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw
"The violence was completely unacceptable"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 4 July, 2001, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Britain on Cyprus alert
Rioters caused 120,000 of damage on Tuesday night
Greek Cypriots have continued their demonstrations outside the island's British base at Akrotiri, following violent clashes on Tuesday night.

But this time the protest was peaceful, with several hundred people gathering in opposition to the construction of radio masts at the base.

About 40 police officers were injured in Tuesday's violence, when cars and buildings were set on fire.

But the British police presence this time was low key, and a senior police officer welcomed the peaceful nature of the latest protest.

These satanic antennae will kill children and destroy the environment. I have done my duty and have no regrets

Marios Matsakis
A deputy from Nicosia's parliament, Marios Matsakis, who was arrested for leading the protest on Monday, was also present on Wednesday.

He defended his actions: "These satanic antennae will kill children and destroy the environment. I have done my duty and have no regrets."


Earlier UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw condemned the violence as "completely unacceptable" and said every effort had been made to assure the Cypriots that radiation from the masts posed no risk.

The trouble flared following Mr Matsakis' arrest for trying to break into the Akrotiri base.

Protesters burst into a nearby British police station where he was being held, demanding his release.

Riot troops

Troops in riot gear confronted the crowd of protesters and fired tear gas in clashes which lasted all Tuesday evening.

A British policeman injured during trouble at the Akrotiri base in Cyprus
Forty police officers were injured during the trouble
A British military spokesman called the protests "one of the most violent and abhorrent acts of lawlessness ever seen in Cyprus".

Protesters say the six low-frequency masts to be built near UK bases by 2003 will emit radiation that could seriously harm local residents, especially children.

They are also concerned about possible effects on migratory birds.

British authorities deny there is any risk to health, and say the antennae are needed for the UK military's global communications network.

There are about 3,500 British soldiers based in Cyprus.

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See also:

04 Jul 01 | Europe
Cyprus: A slice of Britain abroad
14 Jun 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Cyprus
07 Jun 01 | Europe
Timeline: Cyprus
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