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11 June 2013, 10:15

Cyprus Toilet Protest over Economy Woes

An artist put 20 plaster toilets on display outside the Cyprus Central Bank in Nicosia on Monday, in an unusual protest to signal the island's bailout economy is going down the pan.

Cypriot artist Andreas Efstathiou called it a "symbolic protest" to highlight the pain Cypriots have suffered since Cyprus secured 10 billion euros ($13 billion) in European Union rescue aid in return for an unprecedented bail-in from bank depositors.

"Through this art installation I'm making a visual protest about the bad things that happened to Cyprus," the 49-year-old artist told the Cyprus News Agency.

"I think those people walking past the central bank seeing an array of toilets outside get the message and understand what has happened for the country to have reached this point," he added.

From the front, the installation looks like toilets but from behind it also resembles tombstones, Efstathiou said.

Cyprus was forced to wind up failed lender Laiki and impose a massive levy on larger deposits in the Bank of Cyprus, the island's largest.

The unprecedented eurozone "haircut" on deposits forced the government to close all the island's banks for nearly two weeks in March and impose draconian controls when they reopened.

International lenders don't expect Cyprus -- suffering record 15 percent unemployment and a credit squeeze -- to exit recession until 2015.


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