Supporting the Opening of the Deryneia Checkpoint

Since the launch of the FPN I am often invited via facebook to all kinds of different events,  by all sorts of people, which are often only written in Greek.  As much as I try to translate if I can't figure it out I won't share it (it could be anything!)  and I usually dismiss them until if and when it becomes apparent what they are. 

Once such event was the 'ΝΑ ΑΝΟΙΞΕΙ Η ΛΕΩΦΟΡΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΕΠΙΣΤΡΟΦΗΣ'   It was only once I realised that many of my contacts had been invited and after reading an article in the Cyprus Mail that it got my interest and I realised it was an event to try and get the checkpoint in my village Deryneia opened. With the peace talks between the Cypriots leaders having just restarted I excited to see another positive step being taken towards the future and I knew I had to be there. 

I quickly put together an piece for the FPN website using information from the Cyprus Mail and the event pages on facebook to spread the word in English and in the process I realised that a simultaneous event was to take place on the other side of the checkpoint just 800m away. 

 According to the organisers, the event will take place on both sides of the check point simultaneously.
“Such an opening will reduce the distance, improve intercommunal relations, meet humanitarian needs and improve the market potential of the economic actors in the region as it will be allowing them to trade their goods and services,” organisers said.f"We have to raise our voice, as both south and the north of Famagusta area, facing with shrinking economic climate, the shops are going bankrupt each and every day, youth are leaving the region or migrating to other countries.
At the moment we need to take additional 17 kilometers in order to reach Deryneia from Two and a Half Mile / Strovilia check point. If Deryneia crossing point opens, this will reduce to 800 meters uniting Deryneia and Famagusta with new ties. Such an opening will reduce the distance, improve the intercommunal relations, meet the humanitarian needs and improve the market potential of the economic actors in the region as it will be allowing them to trade their goods and services.

Recently, UN Human Rights Committee supported the efforts for the opening of the new crossing points and emphasized that increasing number of checkpoints contributes the intercommunal trust and dialog.
Both the local and international dynamics are emphasizing the opening of Deryneia crossing point. Now, YOU have to to push for it."

My post got lots of views and I hope it at least raised some awareness of what may happen, I had hoped that it might have got a few more expats down on the day but I saw few non-Cypriots.  It surprises me as I'm sure they would all be straight through for visits when it opens. 

Anyway, I digress..

Crowds gather to show their support.
The roadblock consists of barbed wire at the front and a short distance after that is the barrier and stop sign. Initially a cameraman and some photographers stepped through the barbed wire and joined the policemen standing casually behind it, and were taking photos and filming the crowd, but gradually everyone was able to step through the wire and join them right next to the barrier itself.

There was a good turn out on the south side, maybe over 400 people at its peak.  It was a peaceful and positive crowd, with music and even some dancing! 

We were there for just over an hour and then the crowd started to disperse, I was pleased that I went and joined the numbers, and I hope if they do it again we will see even more support and soon we will be able to walk the whole road. 

This video taken by drone not only shows the gathered crowds but allows us to see the road stretching into the distance, the road we hope we will soon be able to use.

And just 800 metres away, another crowd gathered in support of the same cause. They were also singing and shouting in the hope we could here, and I'm sure we could have done if it had been arranged to stop the music for a moment on each side.  

Same banners, same stickers, same island, and same goal......

Thank you to Hulusi Kilim for the photos from the northern side.
It would be a fantastic step forward for this crossing to be opened and it would enhance the lives and businesses of so many people and bring growth to Deryneia.   Although of course there are many bigger issues to resolve, not least Varosha itself but you have to start somewhere.


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