Emergency bank holidays in Cyprus affected customers in cyberspace who were greeted on Tuesday (March 19th) with messages saying online transfers were suspended.

Websites for a number of Cypriot banks displayed messages in English, Russian and Greek informing customers that online banking and international transfers were disabled during bank holidays declared for March 19th and 20th.

Of almost 70 billion euros in deposits held on the island nation, a little less than half is held by non-residents and most are believed to be Russian. There is no official sum available in Russia or Cyprus for the amount Russian banks, firms and individuals hold in Cyprus.

Back on the streets, stunned Cypriots emptied cash machines over the weekend and banks are to remain shut on Tuesday and Wednesday to avoid a bank run.

The island's stock exchange also suspended trading for another two days.

Cyprus's parliament is due to discuss later on Tuesday and early Wednesday, a levy on bank deposits agreed at the weekend as part of a bailout deal to avert an imminent default for the euro zone country.

Presented by Adam Justice