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Cyprus students protest as banks stay closed

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 02:19

March 26 - Banks in Cyprus will remain closed until Thursday, and even then subject to capital controls to prevent a run on deposits, after a European Union bailout that the country's president assured his people was in their best interests. Ciara Sutton reports.

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'Troika get out' - that's the message from Cypriot students marching on parliament. They accuse international lenders of drinking the government's blood by making bank depositors pay for the country's financial crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT, THOMAS, SAYING: "They've just gotten rid of all our dreams, everything we've worked for, everything we've achieved up until now, what our parents have achieved." Cyprus would be bankrupt without an EU bailout. But unlike Greece, reaction on the island has been relatively muted. Some say Cypriots are failing to grasp the gravity of their predicament. But Robert Cole from Reuters Breakingviews says that's not the case. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS, ROBERT COLE, SAYING: "Underneath I would be astonished if the broad mass of Cypriot people weren't really, really worried, and didn't feel really, really let down. So just because there's not petrol bombs being thrown around the place, doesn't mean that there's not severe disquiet." Markets have regained their composure after comments by the head of the euro group head raised fears Cyprus would be the template for any future bailouts. The ECB has now waded in saying that Jeroen Dijsselbloem's comments were "wrong". But Barclays' Will Hobbs says investors remain wary. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) WILL HOBBS, SAYING: "Mr Dijsselbloem seems clear that he wants the risks to be born by those who take them but I think the real risk you bare here is do depositors in future crises want to stick around if they sense trouble again?" Banks in Cyprus will remain closed until Thursday, and even then they'll be subject to capital controls to prevent a run on deposits. Russians are believed to account for most of the 19 billion euros of non-EU cash on the island. And they're voicing their concerns loud and clear. Antis Nathanael is director of the Cyprus Russian Business association. (SOUNDBITE)(English) DIRECTOR OF THE CYPRUS RUSSIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION, ANTIS NATHANAEL, SAYING: "Shock because what has happened in Cyprus is unprecedented - it has not happened anywhere in the world. They are targetting the Russian companies who are here." Preventing people moving funds out of the country is designed to safeguard Cyprus in the short-term. But even if there's no immediate bank run on Thursday - long term Cyprus' prospects are bleak.

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Cyprus students protest as banks stay closed

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 02:19

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