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1,000 bank workers march on Cyprus’ presidential palace


By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, March 23, 2013

At least 1,000 bank workers fearing for their jobs staged a march on the Cyprus presidency on Saturday ahead of a planned protest outside parliament which is to debate a bailout to save the island from bankruptcy.

An AFP journalist said the workers marched from the headquarters of the Cyprus Union of Bank Employees (ETYK) towards the presidential compound where they held a brief rally at the gates before heading towards the finance ministry.

The marchers held placards that read: “Hands off provident funds” and “No to the bankruptcy of Cyprus” as well as “Let us dream.”

Police initially blocked the protesters from nearing the presidential palace before then letting them through.

The Cypriot authorities are scrambling to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) before a Monday deadline set by the European Central Bank or it will cut off emergency financial aid to the island.

Finance Minister Michalis Sarris said “significant progress” has been made in talks with the EU, ECB and IMF aimed at clinching a 10 billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout to save the eurozone member from looming bankruptcy

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