Turkish Cypriots protest closure of island crossings
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Turkish Cypriots in the north of divided Cyprus protested Friday against the closure of crossings by the island's internationally-recognised government as part of efforts to combat coronavirus.
"We want to get back to work," read a banner unfurled by dozens of demonstrators who have jobs in the Greek Cypriot-administered south, gathered at the Ayios Dhometios crossing in the capital Nicosia.
The Mediterranean island is divided between the Republic of Cyprus -- a European Union member state -- and the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognised only by Ankara.
After the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Cyprus on March 9, crossings along the UN-patrolled ceasefire line that runs across the country were shuttered.
About 1,500 Turkish Cypriots formally work in the south in sectors ranging from construction to health services, although the figure is likely higher because of unregistered workers.
The south has recorded 907 cases and 17 deaths from COVID-19, according to figures Thursday when two new cases were declared, while the TRNC says it has had 108 cases and four deaths.
The north has declared no new cases of coronavirus for more than three weeks and said its last patient being treated in hospital was released on Monday.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in response to an Athens-backed coup aimed at unifying it with Greece.
© 2020 AFP