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Farmers in co-op tractor protest in Nicosia (PICTURES)

Farmers are set to park tractors outside the Cooperative Central Bank headquarters in Nicosia on Tuesday in a show of support for the cooperative banking movement.

Secretary General of farmers union PEK, Michalis Lytras, called on members to participate saying that cooperative banking was the backbone of the Cypriot people and should not be privatised.

According to some media reports, the farmers will also take their tractors to the Finance Ministry but will first assemble at the co-op headquarters at 11am.

He said there were many companies that directly depended on co-op banking would also “be sacrificed on the altar of privatisation”.

Lytras also said the downsizing of the co-op baking sector that has taken place had already deprived farmers of banking facilities.

He also said PEK, along with the four other famers’ organisations, had prepared a study proving that co-op banking should continue to serve the people of Cyprus.

As part of Cyprus’s bailout agreement with international lenders, the Cooperative Central Bank in 2014 received a €1.5bn capital injection from the government and another €175m in 2015.

The European Commission is concerned that the co-op-banks are moving towards becoming part of the state apparatus, which violates Cyprus’s bailout terms.

According to the recapitalisation plan, the organisation will need to take all necessary measures to receive the relevant permits from the relevant regulatory authorities, so that it is ready to introduce its shares in the Cyprus Stock Exchange.

(PICTURES BY STEFANOS KOURATZIS)

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