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Hundreds of Cypriot youths rally against bailout

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Hundreds of Cypriot students marched on the presidential palace in Nicosia on Tuesday, after a Facebook call for a rally against a painful bailout for the financially crippled island.

"Troika out of Cyprus," said banners held by the angry students, in reference to the creditors of the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

"Hands off Cyprus," and "Those who stole our money should go to jail and pay," chanted the demonstrators, who an AFP cameraman said numbered around 1,500.

The protesters, who gathered following an appeal on their student union's Facebook page, were cheered by government workers as they marched past the labour ministry.

Cyprus secured a deal with the troika on Monday for a 10-billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout that helped it avert bankruptcy but which will see large deposit-holders at its two biggest banks losing much of their savings.

"We don't know what our future is, and we are angry that it will not stop at those measures," said one of the youths who only gave his name as Christos, 16. "This why we... came out to express our opinion."

"We must all come together to save our country. It's about us, not only for our parents, it's for our future," another protester also named Christos told AFP.

"We fear for our future. What is happening in my country makes me angry," said Lauren, 17, who added she was seriously considering going abroad to finish her studies because of the uncertainty.

Cypriots woke Tuesday to find banks under lockdown for an 11th day after authorities reversed course and kept them closed to prevent a run on deposits following the bailout.

The bailout involves depositors in the two biggest banks paying huge levies on deposits more than 100,000 euros. It also effectively shuts down Laiki, the island's second-largest lender also known as Popular Bank.

The student protest will be followed by a leftwing anti-austerity demonstration organised by the communist Akel party for 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Wednesday outside the presidential palace.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130326/hundreds-cypriot-youths-rally-against-bailout