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Man fires rifle in air outside Cyprus parliament

December 16, 2013

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Police say a man is in custody after firing off a single round from an assault rifle in the air outside Cyprus’ parliament to protest the country’s economic problems.

Spokesman Andreas Angelides said the man surrendered to parliamentary guards after he fired the army-issue G3 rifle Monday afternoon.

Police say the suspect told them he wanted to protest the country’s economic hardship.

Angelides says the 33-year-old man faces charges of unlawfully discharging and transporting a weapon and illegal possession of explosives.

Cyprus avoided bankruptcy in March when it agreed with euro area countries and the International Monetary Fund on a financial rescue that crushed its banking sector.

The country’s economy is projected to shrink 7.7 percent of GDP this year, while unemployment is forecast to exceed 19 percent in 2014.

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