Cypriots #OccupyBufferZone

Cypriots #OccupyBufferZone

Cypriots join the global protest movement to heal their divisions

Cyprus has a long history of violence between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. When Greek Cypriot nationalists, seeking unity with Greece, overthrew the Cypriot President in 1974, Turkey invaded the northern part of Cyprus saying it needed to protect Turkish Cypriots. The island was partitioned by a United Nations mandate, and a buffer zone was created between North and South.

That buffer zone is now the site of an ongoing protest which follows the #occupy model. On weekends, some 100 protestors (a significant number on an island of roughly one million) gather to “occupy” the UN-administered buffer zone and voice their support for a unified island. They claim negotiations between Turkish and Greek Cypriot authorities have fundamentally failed to resolve the island’s division.

Some protestors blame the political tensions on British colonial tactics used to divide and rule Cypriots. Cyprus gained independence from the UK in 1960.

Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, joins the show to discuss comparisons between the Occupy Nicosia movement and other #Occupy protests around the world. Cypriot and activist Mihalis Eleftheriou joins the show via Skype from Cyprus, where he has been participating in the movement. Rahme Veziroglu, Turkish Cypriot sociologist, and activist, also joins via Skype.

What do you think of the Cyprus buffer zone? Send us your thoughts and comments on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #AJStream.

These are some highlights of the conversation around the web:

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