President Nicos Anastasiades described Sunday night’s demonstration by fans of a local football club at the Dherynia checkpoint as “unacceptable and condemnable.”
The justice minister and police chief gave assurances that police will be boosting their numbers at the Dherynia checkpoint and police station
Commenting on Monday on the ruckus that involved some 200 anti-Turkey demonstrators, some of which were holding baseball bats, throwing flares, and chanting slogans, with fireworks used by the protestors resulting in a fire near the checkpoint, Anastasiades said he understands the public’s indignation but stressed that such actions will justify the long-standing allegations made by Turkey, and asked the public to show restraint so that challenges can be addressed in a better way.
Anastasiades’ comment in full:
“I consider the incidents that took place last night at the Dherynia checkpoint extremely unacceptable and condemnable.
I understand the feelings of indignation and bitterness that pervade Cypriot Hellenism as a result of the decision of Turkey and its henchmen, in violation of Security Council resolutions, to alter the regime or threaten the incorporation of Varosha under Turkish Cypriot rule.
Actions such as those of last night, will not only not help to end the occupation and prevent Ankara’s plans, but will, on the contrary, hasten and justify the hitherto unfounded allegations made by Turkey.
At a time when the UN Security Council is reaffirming its resolutions, when the UN Secretary-General says he intends to take a new initiative to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, at a time when the European Council and the European Parliament, as well as leaders of the Members of the Security Council, among others, condemn Turkey's actions and are mobilizing to put an end to its plans, no one, regardless of motives, is allowed by his actions to give Turkey and the occupying regime an alibi.
I ask for calm and restraint during these critical hours, in order to face the challenges through a spirit of unity and to avert the plans of Ankara and the occupying regime.”
Police to boost presence at Dherynia checkpoint
Both the justice minister Emily Yioliti and the chief of police gave assurances on Monday that police will be boosting their numbers at the Dherynia checkpoint but also at the Dherynia police station.
Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Dherynia mayor Andros Karayiannis said “what we lived through last night at the checkpoint was tragic.”
“The Dherynia municipality has warned that it will no longer tolerate such kinds of vandalism, that it, the destruction of any type of property, be it private, municipal, or public, during protests and demonstrations. Our people are scared, terrified, as such actions do not bring us joy – on the contrary, the Dherynia municipality condemns them.”
Karayiannis expressed hope that “the police will move to implement the relevant legislation and make arrests if needed,” noting that on Monday morning he contacted the police chief and the attorney-general to request that law and order is immediately enforced.
Police to comb CCTV footage
According to Karayiannis, police have collected CCTV footage from the Dherynia checkpoint, and are already sifting through the material in an attempt to secure any details of any of the protestors, potentially leading to arrests.
Karayiannis said that upon noticing the demonstrators on Sunday night police managed to break up the protest and immediately launched an investigation in order to locate perpetrators.