Union nursing staff at Limassol General Hospital went on a two-hour strike on Friday, following an incident a day earlier involving a commotion in the Emergency Room that led to the arrest of an outpatient and two others.
PASYNO nurses union issued a statement saying its members who work in Limassol General’s ER went on a two-hour work stoppage Friday morning starting at 9am to protest “hostile acts against medical staff in a department of vital importance.”
“We cannot remain idle and watch developments while waiting for the next ‘blow’,” the statement said.
A day earlier, a group of citizens barged into the ER where a man had also gone to be treated for injuries he had sustained from an attack allegedly perpetrated by local bikers.
During the commotion, a police officer asked everyone to leave. As the incident was drawing to a close, three foreign men were getting into an awaiting vehicle, with one of them, a 32-year-old African male, allegedly cursing at the police officer and doctor on duty.
Police say the husband was arrested because he punched an officer who got inside the car but the wife says her man was trying to protect her
The man, who was reportedly the outpatient, and the two others were arrested for multiple offences under investigation, including insulting a public servant, assaulting a police officer, aggravated assault, reckless behavior and acts of negligence.
A video posted later on social media, recorded outside a police station by the main suspects’ wife, described as local resident, gave a different version of events, claiming the police officer and the doctor had joined others who were ganging up on her husband.
According to police, the husband was detained because he “lashed out and punched" the officer after the car came to a complete stop. The officer was inside the moving vehicle trying to arrest the suspect, police later said, refuting initial reports that he was dragged by the fleeing car.
But the wife, who had gone to the hospital with another person to pick up her husband and two others, says her man was trying to protect her.
“They destroyed my car, they hit me on the head,” she said, adding police refused to take her statement after the incident.
Police also prosecute wife but charges unclear
Police did not comment on the woman’s allegations but told Knews that a criminal case was filed on Friday against four individuals. It was later confirmed that the defendants were three African males aged 25, 26, and 32 as well as a 33-year-old Cypriot citizen who is married to the main suspect.
PASYNO officials have condemned the incident including what they described as “lack of security” in their workplace, saying this was not the first time their members were caught in the middle of altercations between members of the public and medical staff.
Local media said PASYNO members in Paphos, where similar incidents were previously reported in the state hospital’s ER, have also joined Friday's strike.
Story updated to reflect correct number of individuals prosecuted in case