Sunday, August 19th 2018 6PM °C nicosia
26-08-2017 13:37 | Read 727 times

Angry crowd attacks taxi

A BRITISH expat couple “feared for their lives” when the TRNC taxi they were travelling in came under attack from Greek Cypriot football hooligans in South Nicosia on Wednesday night.

Angry crowd attacks taxi

Bob Carnduff, 78, and wife Gill, 73, said they experienced moments of “panic” and “terror” when the vehicle was set upon by an angry mob of around 30 to 40 flag-waving people who tried to open the taxi's doors as they were travelling back to their Ozanköy home after a flight from London to Larnaca airport.
The incident occurred while the Mercedes Vito was waiting at a red light near the grounds of Apoel FC, where fans were out celebrating the club’s qualification for the Champions League group stage.
“We flew all the way from Canada for 20 hours via London Gatwick and landed at Larnaca at about 10.30pm,” Mr Carnduff said. 
“At about 11.50pm, our taxi . . . was attacked by what appeared to be a gang of Greek Cypriots who were holding the Greek and [South] Cyprus flags. 
“They were banging and spitting on the windows. They were chanting something in Greek. They threw stones and cans at the vehicle. 
“They shook the vehicle and clung on to it. Our taxi driver seemed more worried for us than anything and was telling us to stay calm and that they were drunk.”
Mr Carnduff, a retired newsagent who moved North Cyprus with his wife in 2003, said he then heard a “terrible crushing sound” when the people carrier pulled away after the lights turned green, as one of the gang kicked a sliding door on the left side of the vehicle.
Mrs Carnduff said the whole journey from Canada had been “hell” after their luggage had been lost.
“Just as we thought the stress was over, we were horrified to have gone through this experience with these thugs.”
She praised taxi driver Aziz Canaş, 30, for staying calm, and added: “He even apologised to us for what had happened, even though it was not his fault. He was . . . just anxious to leave the area as quickly as possible.” 
Mr Canaş said: “I saw the group as I approached the lights . . . They saw the Turkish Cypriot number plate and one started shouting, ‘Turkish dog’. 
“I immediately pressed the central locking button . . . They tried to open the doors and banged on the vehicle, spitting and throwing beer cans and stones. Then they kicked the sliding door. 
“I was doubly concerned: for the elderly British passengers and for the vehicle itself which is worth some 250,000TL and had been lent to me. It was a horrifying experience. At one stage the couple were shaking from shock.”
The driver, who frequently takes passengers to and from Larnaca airport, said he had reported the incident to Greek Cypriot police.
Head of the Lefkoşa Taxi Association Rıfat Turgut, who owns the damaged vehicle, said: 
“The issue of attacks on Turkish Cypriot taxi drivers or cars with Turkish Cypriot number plates is a very big problem. 
“This is definitely a racially motivated attack. If concrete steps aren’t taken and the culprits are not caught and punished, this problem will continue . . . We hope Greek Cypriot police take solid action and catch these thugs.” 
President Mustafa Akıncı said in April he was “saddened” by nearly two dozen reported attacks on Turkish Cypriots in the South since the border opened in 2003.

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