HL Deb 24 January 1957 vol 201 cc103-4

3.12 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can make a statement about the rioting in Nicosia.]


My Lords, at about 2 o'clock on the afternoon of January 19, two bombs were thrown by a Greek Cypriot at Turkish police constables guarding a power station in Nicosia. Four of the constables were injured; one of them died in hospital. On the following morning, a small number of fires were started by bands of Greek and Turkish Cypriot youths. Three Greek shops and warehouses and one Turkish garage were set on fire. The fires were got under control before the afternoon, and the military and police patrols in the Old City were heavily reinforced. Later the same day, a crowd of Turkish youths stoned some Greek cars and shops, but were dispersed by the police. One Greek Cypriot was slightly injured. Just after dark, fires were started in five Greek shops and one timber yard, which was gutted. A complete curfew was imposed that night.

During the morning of January 21, small gatherings of Turkish youths were quickly dispersed. A band of Greek youths attacked a Turkish Muktar's house; they caused no damage but injured one Turkish youth with stones.

This band was also dispersed. The curfew was reimposed at 11 in the morning and the rest of the day was quiet except for three cases of youths stoning vehicles.

On January 22 the shops in the Greek quarter of Nicosia closed. During the morning, military and police patrols dispersed several gatherings of Greek and Turkish youths without incident. Later in the morning, two Greek shops were broken into, and a fire was started in a timber store which was brought under control. At mid-day two bombs were thrown and fell among some Greek Cypriots at a bus-stop, causing injuries to seven persons. At about the same time, one Greek Cypriot was found wounded and died in hospital. The curfew was reimposed at 2 o'clock on the afternoon of January 22, and was kept on until dawn the next day. Since then Turkish youths have been under curfew. There have been no incidents since mid-day on January 22. I am happy to inform your Lordships that the curfew was lifted at dawn to-day.


My Lords, I am sure that we are all glad to hear that the rioting in Nicosia is over and that the curfew has been lifted. May I ask the noble Earl whether the report of The Times correspondent in Cyprus, that something like 70 fires were started on Greek premises in the Old City in Nicosia, was a gross exaggeration? Is that a fair inference to draw from the noble Earl's reply?


My Lords, yes; I think it is a fair inference to draw because the reports that we have had are from on the spot.