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Family on hunger strike outside Presidential Palace

A Kurdish family, that left Syria a decade ago and who have been fighting for Cypriot citizenship ever since, will go on hunger strike outside the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

Their protest will get underway on Wednesday but the family have already been camped outside the Palace for months.

The family, which has been in Cyprus for over 10 years, set up tents by the Presidential Palace on April 7. They had previously been camped outside the Interior Ministry for almost a year, from October 2014 to August 2015.

The protesting family now uses a public toilet some 20 minutes away by foot and carries water to the site in buckets to bath behind a make-shift shelter. They had also been cooking on site but have now decided to go on hunger strike as of Wednesday in an effort to get through to the authorities.

They have also sent a letter to the new Interior Minister, Constantinos Petrides, telling him about their plight and why they believe they are entitled to Cypriot citizenship.

“We were protesting outside the Interior Ministry from October 2014 to Augusta 2015 fighting for the right afforded us as recognised refugees,” the family stated in a letter.

“In August 2015, the then minister (Socrates Hasikos) suggested the immediate provision of Cypriot nationality to three members of our family who fulfilled the criteria at the time. He suggested we apply for naturalisation for the other members a year later when they would have completed the necessary length of time in the Republic.We accepted the suggestion and suspended our protest”.

The family said they duly submitted the applications but, after a long wait, were on March 27 this year told their requests had been denied, prompting the new protest.

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