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1974: Cyprus conflict spills into London

Thousands of Greek-Cypriots in London have been protesting about the disputed government of Cyprus.

Turkish troops landed in the north of the Mediterranean island early yesterday morning after a Greek-sponsored coup in the capital, Nicosia, last week.

More than 10,000 Greek-Cypriots and British left-wing activists marched through the centre of London in support of an independent Cyprus and the restoration of Archbishop Makarios as its elected president.

But trouble flared when the group collected outside the All Saints Greek Orthodox church in Camden Town and confronted other Greek Cypriots in favour of union - or enosis - with Greece.

An action committee was meeting in the headquarters of the Coordinating Movement for Union of Cyprus with Greece - opposite the church - to prepare a force of volunteers to join the Greek army.


"Makarios is turning Cyprus into a Mediterranean Cuba"

Spokesman for pro-Greek unionists

Marchers tore down pro-Greek unionist posters - calling for the removal of Turkish forces - from railings surrounding the HQ.

Police were called to separate the opposing crowds of Greek-Cypriots as they shouted abuse at each other across the street.

A spokesman for the pro-Greek unionists referred to the demonstrators as "communists" and said: "Makarios is turning Cyprus into a Mediterranean Cuba."

Britain has been airlifting troops and equipment into Cyprus whilst a ceasefire in Nicosia is protecting foreign civilians from the warring factions.

The 2,000 British holiday-makers stranded on the island have criticised the Labour Government for failing to anticipate the onset of fighting.

Gun battles have been fiercest around Kyrenia and Famagusta where many Britons were staying.

Most of the 21,000 Britons on the island - including 17,000 dependents of the 9,000 forces personnel - have now been safely escorted to British military bases at Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

British and American naval frigates are cruising the coast-line to evacuate any "friendly nationals" from the beaches.

West German officials were advising their nationals to leave the island on Thursday - two days before the Turkish invasion.

In Context
The military junta in Greece collapsed the next day along with the presidency of their puppet, Nikos Sampson, in Cyprus.

A ceasefire held as Turkey, Greece and Cyprus met in Geneva to discuss a settlement.

Conflict continued and 200,000 Greeks became refugees as Turkey occupied 40% of the island.

The UK was criticised for not working harder to preserve Cypriot independence from Greece.

The US was keen to appease Turkey in the north because of its strategic importance.

Makarios returned to power in the unoccupied areas at the end of 1974 and remained in power until his death in 1977.


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