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Iraqi asylum seekers end protest at British base in Cyprus

By Xinhua

Nicosia : Seven Iraqi protesters who seek asylum ended their six-day demonstration at a British military base in southern Cyprus on Monday.

The asylum seekers climbed down a 14-meter fire service tower, from where they had threatened to throw themselves off unless they got British passports.

Local media reported that the British base authorities succeeded in starving the seven down instead of the use of force.

The Iraqis had reportedly sneaked into the base from the Turkish Cypriot-controlled north eight years ago. Another Iranian man with them was seized on Saturday when he left the tower for food and attempted to rejoin the seven.

They claimed the British bases authorities initially promised they would be granted British passports, but the British authorities clarified that they should apply for asylum to the Republic of Cyprus.

The asylum seekers have reportedly left the base after calling off the protest.

Britain, the island’s former colonial ruler, has retained two sovereign military bases in southern Cyprus since its independence in 1960.