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COVID19: Police move against social media conspiracy theorists

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After several telecom towers were torched in Limassol, in actions encouraged by COVID-19 and 5G conspiracy theories, police are building cases against instigators who incite their online followers to break the law.

Cyprus police are ready to prosecute around 22 suspects believed to have incited their online followers through social media posts to destroy or cause damages to telecommunication installations.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, police spokesperson Christos Andreou on Thursday said that investigations of cases involving malicious damage to mobile phone antennas are ongoing while investigators have identified some 22 possible suspects.

Andreou said the police is stepping up its game to prevent arsonists torching telecommunication installations, noting that the majority of these incidents seem to have taken place in Limassol.

“Eight of these cases took place in the Limassol District…efforts are being made to prevent such cases from taking place again in the future,” said Andreou.

Three such attacks took place in Limassol on Wednesday.

He said the police met with telecom companies “to revise measures already in place to protect these installations while exchanging ideas over further measures”.

“People need to understand that destroying such infrastructure could endanger human lives. When these installations are destroyed, communication in certain areas is affected, resulting in people who may be at risk of not having access to their mobile phone to call the police or an ambulance for help.”

Conspiracy theories linking new 5G mobile networks and the coronavirus pandemic are fuelling arson attacks on mobile towers across Europe.

There is an unfounded perception that the spread of COVID-19 is somehow connected to the rolling out of fifth-generation wireless technology.