Four teenagers were arrested on Friday morning in connection with a group delinquency incident in Limassol, where youths started fires near a local church and then attacked fire fighters and police officers who rushed to the scene.
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Police said they were notified Thursday evening around 9:45pm that young people gathered near a church in Kapsalos, an urban borough in the northern part of Limassol, had set trash cans on fire and then threw rocks at a fire truck that rushed to the scene.
According to police, officers who also arrived at the scene said they saw some 20 young people, many of whom started throwing rocks and fluorescent light sticks. Some youths had their faces covered, an official statement said, adding that members of the group then ran away.
But a disturbing video on social media also showed a fire in the middle of an intersection, with angry youths moving towards patrol cars with harmful intentions.
Officers then spotted youths standing near a bonfire inside the church yard, using illegal fireworks and causing a public disturbance. They too started to run away at the sight of police, with officers managing to detain four individuals.
The four males, three aged 17 and one 15-year-old, were all arrested on a court warrant early Friday morning on charges of misdemeanor and causing commotion. All four are of legal age in terms of being charged with an offence in the Republic of Cyprus.
Unexpected loud explosions are often heard late at night for several days leading up to the Holy Week, with illegal fireworks associated with Greek Orthodox Easter traditions getting out of hand over the years.
Residents in local communities have been complaining about youngsters in neighborhoods across the Republic breaking into abandoned homes, stealing wood in order to make bonfires, and throwing illegal fireworks in school yards and near homes at odd times and late at night.
Police said they were taking a strict approach towards illegal activities during Easter, while municipality authorities in various districts have been busy this year spotting and dismantling illegal bonfires.
Last year, police introduced drones to intensify patrols during Holy Week in an effort to spot illegal lambradjia bonfire sites and clamp down on the use of unauthorized fireworks.
Story updated with new information from video on social media