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Public Demonstrations

Volume 395: debated on Wednesday 1 December 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now have the trade union leaders, shopkeepers, municipal councillors and mayors and others in Cyprus who have been imprisoned or heavily fined for taking part in an admittedly orderly demonstration, or even for closing their shops, released from prison and their fines remitted and the oppressive legislation which prohibits such demonstrations repealed; and whether, in view of the failure of government by oppression, he will try conceding to the people of Cyprus as much freedom as the Moscow Conference contemplates for the inhabitants of occupied Italy?

These people were prosecuted for a deliberate breach of the law, of which the authorities in Cyprus were bound to take notice. The circumstances were fully described in my reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Mathers) on 3rd November. I regret that experience has shown that it is necessary, particularly under war conditions, that the Cyprus Government should have powers of control over public processions. I know of no reason to sup- pose that these powers are unreasonably exercised, and I do not accept the suggestion in the last part of the Question.