Artist uses toilet humor to protest Cyprus bailout

NICOSIA Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:31am EDT

Mock toilets are placed outside the island's central bank in the capital Nicosia June 10, 2013. REUTERS/Andreas Manolis

Mock toilets are placed outside the island's central bank in the capital Nicosia June 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Andreas Manolis

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NICOSIA (Reuters) - A Cypriot artist found a novel way to protest over Cyprus's financial meltdown on Monday, lining up 20 sculptures resembling a cross between toilets and tombstones outside the island's Central Bank.

Arranged in two rows on a pavement outside the building, the white "toilets" made of concrete and plaster caused traffic to slow down along a busy Nicosia avenue, with many drivers honking their horns in approval.

From the rear, the "toilets" looked like headstones.

"I felt the need to protest the situation my country is in ... and I think the choice of toilets has a pretty clear symbolism to everyone," artist Andreas Efstathiou told Reuters.

Cyprus was forced to close a major bank and seize savings at a second in March to salvage the island's banking sector and secure 10 billion euros in aid from international lenders. Thousands of people lost their life savings.

Efstathiou, who has been working on the design for two months, said that although Cyprus's recent financial woes were partly down to mistakes made by commercial banks, he chose the independent central bank for its symbolic value.

Central bank spokeswoman Aliki Stylianou said artists were free to express themselves, but declined to comment on the specific choice made by Efstathiou.

(Writing By Michele Kambas; editing by Mike Collett-White)

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