January 5, 2008 / 5:56 AM / 11 years ago

Protesters throw stones at British base on Cyprus

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Demonstrators opposed to the British presence on Cyprus threw fireworks and stones at police in riot gear on Friday at the entrance to a British military base on the island, witnesses said.

“There was a police contingent which pushed the demonstrators back,” a witness told Reuters after the scuffle involving about 120 demonstrators at RAF Akrotiri, a sprawling base on the southern tip of Cyprus.

No injuries or arrests were reported.

In a separate incident, a bomb disposal expert carried out a controlled explosion on a suspect package found close to another military base. The package was a bag of rubbish, a British bases spokesman said.

Heavily guarded RAF Akrotiri is in one of two Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) that Britain has maintained in Cyprus since giving the eastern Mediterranean colony independence in 1960.

There were riots in the area in 2001 when local people protested against British plans to install antenna masts they feared would pose a risk to public health.

Writing by Michele Kambas, editing by Tim Pearce

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