Three asylum seekers ended up in handcuffs this week following an incident at a social services office in Paphos, with reports suggesting the there was an escalation after police arrived to investigate a complaint of public disturbance.
A man and two women, all described as asylum seekers in their early 20’s from Congo, went to Social Services in Paphos on Tuesday morning, where several individuals were protesting outside about their benefits.
Local media said some individuals had gone inside the building in violation of pandemic rules, according to which only one person at a time was allowed to enter.
Officers then received a tip about an altercation with a female employee around 11am, when the Congolese male was said to have attacked the worker but police declined to say whether the assault was verbal or physical.
Police told Knews the violators had entered the building without authorization and were causing a scene, speaking loud, and refusing to leave.
Police told Knews the violators had entered the building without authorization and were causing a scene, speaking loud, and refusing to leave
When officers attempted to arrest the man, the two women were also detained after attempting to interfere with law enforcement officers, said police, whose arrest report listed multiple offenses including charges of assault, trespassing, property damage, public disturbance, resisting lawful arrest, and obstruction of a police officer.
Local media said the incident took place at the building’s hallway entrance, where police said one of their officers had been injured on his left arm during the arrest.
Police on Friday noon did not say whether the suspects were still in jail but local media said they all three spent the night in jail and were on Wednesday remanded in custody for one day.
It was not clear what prompted asylum seekers in Paphos to enter the building on Tuesday but reports from Nicosia the following day said foreign nationals were seen outside a social services building in Lakatamia, where several males were trying to hold back another individual who appeared to be agitated and wanted to go inside.
A video footage from the Lakatamia incident was shared with the media by nationalist party ELAM, whose spokesperson condemned the incident and called for all asylum seekers involved in the incident to have their social benefits taken away and applications rejected.
ELAM also showed a close-up photo of a jeep-type vehicle with a broken window, saying individuals from the Pournara reception center in rural Nicosia were responsible for vandalism and damages perpetrated by migrants in the area.