Protests in occupied Cyprus

Turkish-Cypriot opposition parties and labor groups have called for a general strike in the Turkish-occupied northern section of Cyprus today to protest against alleged irregularities ahead of December’s crucial electoral process. In what organizers hope could be a repeat of last December’s massive demonstrations – held to pressure Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash into accepting an United Nations reunification blueprint – demonstrators will also protest against their administration’s handling of efforts to unite the island. The election campaign for a new house of representatives opens tomorrow, and opposition parties are awaiting with trepidation the publication of the electoral lists. Fears have been expressed that the regime will try to affect the outcome of the December 14 vote by hastily granting Turkish-Cypriot citizenship to thousands of settlers from Turkey – who generally back Denktash. Opposition parties have formed an alliance, hoping to oust Denktash from his position as chief negotiator on reunification should they win the vote.