On Saturday, September 2nd, Cyprus police announced the arrest of 13 individuals following a violent turn of events during an anti-migrant march in the coastal resort city of Limassol. During the protest, which involved around 500 people, a mob vandalized storefronts and ignited multiple trash bins, resulting in injuries to approximately five individuals who were assaulted on Friday night.
According to reports, a group of people wearing hoods attacked migrants and their businesses in Limassol on Friday evening.
A report by the Associated Press citing amateur video broadcast on local news outlets and websites said several damaged storefronts, trash bins burning in the street and a group of protesters chanting anti-immigrant slogans.
Police also used water cannons to disperse protesters, some of whom even held a banner that read “Refugees not welcome,” reported AFP.
This comes amid reported tensions over an influx of migrants on the east Mediterranean island nation where officials are struggling to cope with the numbers.
Cyprus, a European Union member, has said that it is the “front-line country” on the Mediterranean migrant route with the latest data showing that the island nation has the highest number of first-time asylum applications than the rest of the 27-member countries of the bloc.
According to officials in Cyprus, migrants comprise six per cent of their population more than five times that of the average in other EU member nations.
Injuries and arrests
According to the police, at least five people were injured due to the unrest that broke out during Friday night’s march. All five have since been treated in the hospital and released.
Officers also arrested 13 people, including the alleged organiser of the march.
‘Images of shame’: Cyprus president
After the violence, Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides condemned what he called “images of shame,” and said that the violence was the product of a group of petty criminals with no real connection to the migration situation.
“There is not much that can be said other than the embarrassing images we have seen,” a visibly angry Christodoulides told reporters, as quoted by AFP.
He added, “They have nothing to do with dealing with immigration. If all those involved (in the Limassol incidents) loved or cared about our country, they would not have taken such actions which, above all, insult our country.”