There were battlefield scenes in Limassol once again as residents took to the streets to demonstrate against lockdown measures, with riot police stepping in after hard core protesters caused chaos downtown.
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According to local media, several thousands of protesters gathered Saturday evening in downtown Limassol to demonstrate against government measures that include night curfews and roadblocks in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Local media said many demonstrators wore face masks while many others did not.
Organizers addressed the crowds outside municipal headquarters, as the 3000-strong demonstration -described as a peaceful gathering- was cutting it close to the 8pm deadline for the town’s night curfew. At one point, protesters began singing the Greek National Anthem before the curfew went into effect.
But later, according to reports, a subgroup of hard core protesters that had gathered near the building started wreaking havoc through the town’s streets, setting trashcans on fire, making use of illegal firecrackers, and throwing rocks at police.
Over 150 law enforcement officers and riot police, including a motorcycle squad, were reportedly used as authorities were trying to restore order, while an anti-terror vehicle was also seen on video making rounds
Reports said groups of hooded men, matching the description and modus operandi of previous demonstrators two weeks earlier, were attacking police out in the open and then retrieving into narrow streets in an effort to hide.
But reports said police were prepared for the unrest, entering narrow streets in full riot gear and detaining at least eight individuals as the night went on.
Limassol mayor Nicos Nicolaides, who took to social media in response to the demonstration, said he respected the right of citizens to protest as long as they were behaving “civilly and peacefully.”
“But we cannot have a small group of antisocial elements spoiling this right in such a way, bringing fear and harm to our town and our citizens. The perpetrators and those who put them up to this antisocial behaviour need to be dealt with in a decisive manner,” Nicolaides added.