1950-1959 | Cyprus | Detention without trial | Martial law | Torture

British introduce state of emergency in Cyprus

26 November 1955 During a short radio statement at 17.00 GMT on Saturday 26 November 1955, Field Marshal Sir John Harding, the newly appointed governor of Cyprus, announced draconian emergency laws to crush a growing revolt against British rule.  The death penalty could now be applied for the possession of firearms, ammunition or explosives regardless…

1950-1959 | Collective punishments | Curfews | Cyprus

Empty envelopes provoke harsh British reprisals in Nicosia

24 May 1956 On Thursday 24 May 1956, Martin Clemens, the British commissioner of the Cypriot city of Nicosia, ordered the closing down of shops across several streets, and the expulsion of all inhabitants for three months. The draconian measure was described as a ‘collective punishment,’ a reprisal against the entire population for their supposed…

1950-1959 | Cyprus | Torture

British special branch officers waterboard a Cypriot schoolboy

2 February 1959 Cypriot Petros Petrides revealed in 2010, in an interview with journalist Ian Cobain, that he had been detained as a schoolboy by British troops on 2 February 1959 in the town of Famagusta on the east coast of Cyprus. Petrides used to climb up on the roofs of the houses to shout…

1950-1959 | Cyprus | Flogging

Cypriot boys birched under emergency regulations

13 January 1956 On 13 January 1956, six Greek Cypriot boys from Famagusta were birched under one of several emergency regulations introduced the previous month to stamp out an island wide rebellion against British rule. By July, Lennox-Boyd, the colonial minister, admitted that a total of 118 boys had been ‘sentenced to whipping,’ of whom…

1950-1959 | Cyprus

Day and night curfew imposed in Nicosia  

13 June 1958 On 13 June 1958, during an insurgency against British rule in Cyprus, which had also exacerbated tensions between the Greek and Turkish communities, Major General Douglas Kendrew ordered a day and night curfew on the entire population of Nicosia ‘until further notice.’ He explained with typical British arrogance that ‘I am going…

1950-1959 | Cyprus

Report into massacre of Greek Cypriots whitewashes role of British Army

9 December 1958 On 9 December 1958, Patrick Bourke, the Chief Justice of Cyprus, published the conclusions of an inquiry in to a massacre of unarmed Greeks outside the Turkish Cypriot village of Geunyeli. On 12 June thirty five Greek detainees had been released from the British Army’s custody into the countryside between two Turkish…

1950-1959 | Censorship | Collective punishments | Curfews | Cyprus | Detention without trial | Martial law

22 JULY

HUNDREDS OF GREEK CYPRIOTS DETAINED WITHOUT TRIAL [ 22 July 1958 ] At 1 am on 22 July 1958, Operation Matchbox commenced. The British Army’s orders were to detain anyone suspected of having any affiliation with the Greek Cypriot EOKA movement, an organisation which demanded the end of rule from London and for the island…