A whopping 75 arrest warrants have been signed by a Nicosia judge following clashes at a migrant camp last week, with police seeking to capture all suspects after the interior minister vowed to deport anyone involved in the incident.
Police said 70 warrants have been issued for the arrests of suspects identified through camera footage as having being involved in a clash at Pournara camp last Friday.
Fire fighters rushed to Pournara in rural Nicosia to put out a fire after an altercation between two tenants over a phone charger got out of hand, causing a major incident with asylum seekers throwing items and riot police going in.
One person was detained on Sunday while four other arrest warrants had also been issued.
Police declined to comment on the suspected offenses listed on the warrants while Knews was unable to confirm whether any deportation proceedings have been launched
Police did not specify any offenses on which the arrest warrants were issued, telling Knews on Monday that all warrants were regarding Friday’s incident.
On Tuesday another 70 warrants were issued in connection with the incident, while at 160 individuals have been either identified or probed by camp officials through camera footage.
Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, who was on a trip abroad earlier this week, has vowed to expel any person found to have been involved in Friday’s incident.
Nouris, who traveled to Switzerland to receive a €10 million contribution to Cyprus for managing migration flows, did not clarify what level of involvement he had in mind but said he would seek guidance from the state’s attorney general to deport those responsible for the clashes.
Police declined to comment on the suspected offenses listed on the warrants. Knews was unable to confirm whether deportation proceedings had been launched regarding any of the suspects.
UNHCR spokesperson Emilia Strovolidou, who spoke on state radio following the incident, said there was a need to bring the numbers down at Pournara but also to involve camp residents in activities.
“Clearly a solution is decongesting the camp,” Strovolidou said, adding that there was a need for programs at Pournara where residents could get involved in day-to-day operations as well as activities.
Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou reportedly attributing Friday’s incident to the large number of people at the camp, a reception facility initially designed for short stays of refugees that is currently hosing over 2000, which is close to three times its original capacity.