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12° Nicosia,
25 January, 2021
 
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Police defend incitement arrests over weekend

Two arrests hours before Nicosia protest draw criticism, police say two detained lawfully

Newsroom

Police defended the actions of law enforcement officers after they arrested two individuals over the weekend on incitement charges hours before a scheduled demonstration in downtown Nicosia.

Political parties and organized groups cried foul over the weekend after police arrested two individuals, suspected of violating emergency regulations put in place against the spread of the coronavirus.

Police sources told Knews the two arrests took place on Saturday early afternoon before a scheduled event in downtown Nicosia at Eleftheria Square.

Knews has been told the two suspects were linked to a post they had shared on social media, calling others to join a protest.

A police report said 'the two detained individuals did not simply express an opinion, as political party spokespersons have suggested, but they incited others to violate decrees'

The event had been scheduled for 5pm with police officers arresting the two individuals and briefly detaining them on incitement charges as well as intentional or reckless behavior to spread an infectious disease. Knews understands they were released after 6pm.

Police spokesperson Christos Andreou, who was a guest during a morning news programme on state radio Monday morning, defended the arrests saying officers had a duty to protect public health.

An official police report said “the two detained individuals did not simply express an opinion, as political party spokespersons have suggested, but they incited others to violate decrees.”

Andreou went on to say that police acted only after a local judge signed off on the arrest warrants, saying the orders were based on statements following information that the suspects were implicated in the committing of criminal offences.

A number of individuals were said to have been spotted at the location of the protest, where the protest did not take place as scheduled.

A number of demonstrations took place recently to protest government measures against peaceful assembly and public gatherings.

Police did not specify whether the suspects were known to have shared similar posts in the past or if they had only shared one post, saying this was not the first time law enforcement proceeded to detain individuals suspected of violating public health laws.

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