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14 June, 2024
 
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Limassol riot sparks outrage as 13 suspects face scrutiny

Rising anti-migrant sentiment erupts in Limassol riots

Charalambos Stylianou

In the wake of racially charged riots that riled the coastal city of Limassol last week, significant developments in the legal proceedings have underscored the gravity of the situation. The Office of the Attorney General has decided to escalate the case by directly referring it to the Assize Court, emphasizing the serious charges brought against the 13 individuals central to the controversy.

The group of suspects, spanning in age from 16 to 50, is slated to face trial in October. They stand accused of a range of offenses, including conspiracy to commit a crime, participation in riots, promotion of racism and xenophobia, and the intentional infliction of damage and harm. These charges highlight the gravity of the incidents that transpired during the riots.

Recent updates on Wednesday revealed that 11 out of the 13 individuals have been released from custody, albeit with travel restrictions imposed. In contrast, one individual, previously under house arrest, has been remanded back to central prisons, awaiting the trial's commencement. Meanwhile, the 50-year-old man suspected of instigating the violence will remain in custody until the trial officially commences on October 25.

The courtroom, serving not only as a legal venue but also as a platform for public sentiment, witnessed a gathering of friends and relatives of the 13 defendants on Wednesday. This assembly aimed to express unwavering support for the accused. They displayed signs bearing messages such as "Hold those responsible for bringing in migrants accountable, not those trying to expel them. Well done, guys!" and "Long live the Greek nation." These expressions underscore the divisive nature of the case and its broader implications within the community.

The violence that unfolded during the incidents, spanning from Friday night to the early hours of Sunday, cast a dark shadow over Limassol, Cyprus' second-largest city. Migrant-owned businesses bore the brunt of vandalism, and disturbingly, Asian delivery drivers were subjected to physical assaults. This troubling escalation of hostility towards migrants, against the backdrop of increasing anti-immigrant sentiment in recent years, highlights a growing societal concern in Cyprus. Historically, such acts of aggression were primarily confined to soccer hooliganism and sporadic unruly tourist behavior.

The upcoming trial in October will not only be a legal reckoning for the 13 accused individuals but also a moment for Cyprus to reflect on its evolving social landscape and the challenges posed by the rising anti-migrant sentiment and associated acts of violence.

[With information sourced from Philenews]

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Limassol  |  riots  |  defendants  |  tourism  |  court  |  legal  |  violence

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