Cyprus banks stay closed to stop mass withdrawals




Images showing:

- VAR of a security guard standing outside the Societe General Bank Cyprus

-VAR of closed Laiki (Popular) bank

SOUNDBITE 1: Nikos (male), Bank security guard (Greek, 17 secs):

"The banks are closed today. They told us they would all be open apart from Bank of Cyprus and Laiki (Popular) Bank. At midnight last night they decided all of them will remain closed. Either all or none."

-MS of Greek grafitti reading "thieves" on Laiki (Popular) bank wall

-WS of customer at a Laiki bank ATM

SOUNDBITE 2: Nikos (male), Bank security guard :

"The situation is difficult. The people who don't have a bank card to withdraw money from their accounts, don't have money. They wait for the bank to open so they can buy bread, milk, food for their children, at least that."


SOUNDBITE 3: Nicos Anastasiades (man), Cyprus President (Greek, 15 sec):

"The agreement reached is a painful one, but under the circumstances the best we could secure. We have overcome the risk of bankruptcy of Cyprus and prevented tragic consequences for the economy and society."


- VAR of men watching the presidential speech at a sports fan club

SOUNDBITE 4: Andreas Vassiliou, (male), Cypriot, (Greek 13 secs):

"In Cyprus we had an invasion by Turkey. Now we have an invasion by troika. What can we do? They have interests, our interests are gone."

- VAR of men watching the presidential speech at a sports fan club





Cyprus banks stay under lockdown to stop run


NICOSIA, March 26, 2013 (AFP) - 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 island's bailout.

All lenders except the debt-hit Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank had been due to open on Tuesday, but the central bank made an unexpected announcement overnight saying they would now all remain shut until Thursday.

It was a fresh blow for the punch-drunk east Mediterranean island after days in which Cypriots have queued at ATMs doling out dwindling amounts of cash, and been unable to carry out over-the-counter transactions.

The closure also has implications for businesses who have found it increasingly difficult to pay staff and keep their stocks up.

"I want the banks to open. Cypriots have strong hands, strong minds, once the bank will open, we all go back to work. But now everything is frozen, I don't know if I am going to lose money," said the owner of a small print shop.

Finance Minister Michalis Sarris made the decision to keep the banks closed on the recommendation of the central bank governor Panicos Demetriades in order to "ensure the smooth functioning of the entire banking system".

There have been fears that the banks could be drained of cash when they reopen as frightened investors try to withdraw their deposits.

President Nicos Anastasiades meanwhile said in a televised address to the nation that Cypriots would face further capital controls, without specifying what they were.

"This is a very temporary measure, which will gradually be relaxed. I can assure that we will do everything possible to return soon to complete normality," he said.

Cyprus secured a last-minute deal in Brussels in the early hours of Monday for a 10-billion-euro ($13 billion) bailout that helped it avert bankruptcy and avoid crashing out of the single currency.

The deal involves depositors in the two biggest banks -- many of them Russian -- paying huge levies on deposits over 100,000 euros. It also effectively shuts down Laiki, the island's second-largest lender also known as Popular Bank.