POST RI was at the 13th Rainbow Festival this year, which took place in Nicosia Municipality Park on Sunday, 31st October 2010 and in Larnaca Seafront Stage on Friday, 5th November 2010. The Rainbow Festival is the largest antiracist, multicultural event in Cyprus with songs, music and dances, traditional food from different countries, a bazaar, info stands and activities for children. It is organized in south of Cyprus by KISA-Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism, in cooperation with dozens of organizations and communities of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and foreign students, Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot bicommunal and human rights organizations and cultural groups.
The main aim of the event was to celebrate multiculturalism, diversity and acceptance and to demand equal rights for all people irrespective of race, colour, ethnicity, religion, community, gender, sexual orientation or any other form of diversity.
The event in Nicosia was a huge success with many people turning up to enjoy the wonderful and coloured performances or to taste the delicious ethnic food sold at theevent. As POST RI, we were there with our stand, where we disseminated our recentlypublished book, we sold little treats for some fundraising and we were able to meet with people from diverse backgrounds and enjoy the atmosphere.
Although we were aware of an anti-immigrant march that would happen on the same day as the Rainbow Festival in Larnaca, we had high hopes for yet another wonderful event. Unfortunately, the reality turned out to be far from that. This peaceful event was disrupted by violent racist attacks from people who were part of the racist-chauvinist demonstrations.
The participants of this demonstration broke chairs, assaulted people at the Festival venue and disconnected the power lines of the Festival. More importantly, right outside of the Festival venue a Turkish Cypriot musician was stabbed in the chest, while another was beaten up with buts.
It is critical to point out that these attacks were not directed solely towards Turkish Cypriots, but rather the attacks were directed at everyone who was not regarded as having a “Hellenic” background by the racist-chauvinist groups. To regard this incident as hatred act solely towards Turkish Cypriots is not only incorrect, but also it fuels hateful feelings between the two communities, which we as POST RI wish to overcome. Therefore POST RI condemns the rising racist and chauvinistic feelings in the south of Cyprus as well as the visible cooperation of the Greek Cypriot poliçe with these groups. The Greek Cypriot police’s irresponsible, insufficient and subjective actions before, during and after the events prove this to be true. POST RI also demands for an immediate independent investigation of the events, as well as immediate effective measures against the phenomena of racism and chauvinism.