Law enforcement officers in the Republic of Cyprus extracted 60 asylum seekers from their place of residence on Friday and transported them to a deportation facility during an operation to enforce an eviction notice from last week.
Officers from several agencies including immigration police, local and state law enforcement, members of a SWAT team, and social workers took part in the operation to evict foreign nationals from a hostel in an industrial area in Nisou, Nicosia district.
The building made headlines last week after the interior ministry issued an executive order, calling for the closure of the second floor as well as banning its use as “unsuitable for human habitation due to conditions of poor ventilation and because it is dangerous due to fire protection liabilities.”
Police said they spotted a total of 62 foreign nationals during the operation that took place on Friday morning between 6am and 10:40am, with 60 of them described as asylum seekers.
The property owner, who said he was in the process of catching up with zooming laws through a variety of agencies, had asked for some time to allow tenants to find new accommodation
According to an official report, the 60 asylum seekers were transferred to a migrant facility in Kofinou, Larnaca district, where deportation proceedings for rejected applicants can also take place.
Last week an army convoy transported hundreds of asylum seekers from overcrowded Pournara reception center in rural Nicosia to Larnaca’s brand new camp adjacent to a deportation facility, with the government saying the transfer took place amid fears of coronavirus spread in the congested camp.
During Friday’s operation, which took place during an orange weather alert, two other persons were spotted at the Nisou hostel, with one described as an asylum applicant being transferred to Pournara, while another person was detained on charges of illegal entry and unlawful stay.
Last week the owner of the Nisou property, who said he was in the process of catching up with zooming laws through a variety of agencies, had asked for some time to allow tenants to find new accommodation.
The eviction order, which bypassed the court system after Attorney General George Savvides gave the okay to Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, was effective on the date of delivery, on Christmas Eve.