(20.02.2021. 16.00, Kolokasi park in Nicosia)
KISA wholly condemns the state/police violence that was exercised in order to suppress the protest at Kolokasi park in Nicosia last Saturday. At the same time, we express solidarity with all the victims and call on citizens and all organised entities to participate in the event scheduled for this Saturday, 20.02.2021 at the same place, against corruption and the policies of violating constitutionally guaranteed human rights, such as freedom of movement, freedom of expression and the right of assembly.
The brutal violence exercised on Saturday by the police against citizens who refused to relinquish their individual freedoms without a fight did not come out of the blue. For a very long time, the government has been trying to cultivate society’s consent and tolerance towards authoritarianism, racism, a police-state and repression.
Refugees have been branded as terrorists and spies for Turkey, resulting in them being detained for an unlimited amount of time without being charged or convicted in court. Asylum seekers have been accused of ‘overspilling’ into society and the reception centres have been transformed into huge closed camps with the aim to erode the right of asylum, freedom of movement, and respect for human rights.
Migrants are characterised as criminals and dangerous to our lives and integrity, with the aim of achieving the required social consent and to welcome joint army and police patrols, banning certain people from living in specific areas based on their ethnic origin by a decree of the MOI as well as the impending introduction of electronic systems for citizen surveillance.
Activists have been slandered as corrupt accomplices of organised crime and NGOs have been declared illegal organisations as they were not able to organise general meetings of their members in the middle of the pandemic and with the social distancing measures in place, thereby disposing of any organised critical voice and questioning of government goals and policies.
KISA agrees that there is a need to conduct an impartial and in-depth investigation into the events in order to find all those responsible for the violence exercised, the injuries incurred to citizens and the significant violation of legal order. Irrespective of the investigation and the individual responsibilities that will surface, there is no doubt or need to investigate the political responsibilities both of the Chief of Police and of the Minister of Justice who ought to resign immediately. In parallel, KISA calls on the Attorney General to drop all charges that involve participation in protests during the pandemic.
For us, the important thing at this juncture is that we are able to deter the systematic effort by this government to embed corruption, racism and the suppression of civil liberties and rights. This is why we call on everyone to participate in the event on Saturday, away from any effort to forcefully guide and take advantage of mobilisation but also of any practices that exclude citizens and organised groups that support the goals of this event.
This post was originally published on KISA.