Nicosia.- Cyprus marked on Friday Greece’s resistance in World War II with church services and school parades across the island.
“Similarly, we, the Cypriot Hellenism, who is today going through the most critical phase of its many thousand-year-old history, is inspired and led by the ever shinning light of October 28 to continue and intensify the struggle to end the anachronistic Turkish occupation,” acting president Yiannakis Omirou said after the parade in Nicosia.
The celebrations commemorate Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas’ rejection of an Italian demand to allow deployment of troops in Greece.
The national holiday is known as Ohi Day, or No Day, in Greek.
In response to Metaxas’s refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania attacked the Greek border, marking the beginning of Greece’s participation in the war.
A few months later, the Greeks drove the Italian troops back into Albania, prompting Nazi Germany to come to their rescue and eventually occupy Greece.
War veterans, high school students, scouts and other organisations took part in parades in all towns.
“The Greek people’s ideals and values against subjugation continue to guide the Cypriot people in their fight to end Turkish occupation and reunify the island,” President Demetris Christofias said in a letter to his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias.
In a separate letter to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, Christofias expressed his gratitude for Greece’s continuous support of Cyprus’ struggle.
Greek Ambassador Vasilis Papaioannou said that despite the difficulties his country is going through, it remains on the side of the Republic of Cyprus, providing support to end the occupation and reunify the island.