Britons living in Cyprus were outraged on Sunday by Cypriot government's plans to impose a levy on bank deposits, some saying they would withdraw their savings as soon as possible.
As many as 80,000 British citizens currently reside in Cyprus. Many live out their retirement on the small Mediterranean island, while others have made it their permanent home and work on the island. Many Britons also have vacation homes here.
"On Tuesday I plan to go to the bank and withdraw all the money I have in there and have nothing left in there. You know. I can't trust them anymore, its theft, they are stealing from me, that's how I see it," said 51-year-old Susan Kearns.
Kearns, a radiographer at a Cypriot hospital, came from Margate in East Kent, England and has lived in Cyprus since 2007 with her retired husband Kevin, who receives a pension from the UK.
"I think it is particularly unfair for people that have saved and tried hard to keep some money in the bank. And it's just a blanket tax across everybody. I understand people with higher savings getting taxed more but 6.75 percent seems an awful lot of money to me. I think it's a very clever way of making sure that Cyprus pays its fair share," said British citizen Stuart Cowell.
51-year-old Cowell, from Markse By The Sea on the northeast coast of England, is a geography teacher at a private school on the island and has lived here permanently with his wife since 2002. They have two children at college in the United Kingdom.
Cowell said he was not planning to withdraw all his savings but worried that this might not be a one-off plan.
"If it works once they could do it again, they could do it again, they could do it again. And the mentality sometimes is lets get all our money out, that is human instinct, isn't it? Let's keep our cash, get it under the bed or something, and its I don't know, a very very worrying time," he said.
In a radical departure from previous aid packages, euro zone finance ministers want Cyprus savers to forfeit up to 9.9 percent of their deposits in return for a 10 billion euro bailout to the island, which has been financially crippled by its exposure to neighbouring Greece.
The decision, announced on Saturday (March 16) morning, stunned Cypriots and caused a run on cashpoints, most of which were depleted within hours. Electronic transfers were stopped. The proposed levies on deposits are 9.9 percent for those exceeding 100,000 euros and 6.7 percent on anything below that.
The move to take a percentage of deposits, must be ratified by parliament, where no party has a majority. President Nicos Anastasiades said on Sunday the only alternative was bankruptcy.
Presented by Adam Justice