Police make more arrests in Chlorakas operation

1 min read

A Cyprus task force conducted a coordinated operation in the Paphos village of Chlorakas following recent violence involving 150 people and the police.

Paphos police, officers from the Crime Prevention Squad and the Drug Squad launched a coordinated operation in the village at around 5 pm on Monday.

During the operation, searches were carried out on houses, apartment buildings, vehicles, and individuals.

Four people were arrested for violating a decree issued by Interior Minister Nicos Nouris forbidding asylum seekers from residing in the village.

According to the decree issued in early 2021, nobody seeking international protection can settle in Chlorakas, apart from those already living there before the issuance of the decree.

The four arrested aged 19, 21, 25 and 31, were charged in writing and are expected to be summoned later before the court.

They were reportedly living in a residential complex, the scene of clashes two weeks ago, and there were three arrests.

The complex hosts about 600 people, including asylum seekers, Chlorakas community leader Nicolas Liasides said.

A total of 115 vehicles and 137 people were stopped and searched by police.

Liasides, with the support of residents, has called for the closure of a residential complex, which they claim houses a gang of Syrian refugees who have an ongoing feud with a Paphos-based gang.

They argue the overcrowded complex is unfit for living, and the drinking water is unsuitable.

Liasides told Sigma TV the owner of the complex has not been paying the water bills, while he has been “stealing electricity” from neighbouring buildings.

Refugee human rights watchdog KISA said they perceive recent actions taken by the police, the local community leader and the Interior Minister as racially motivated.

“The migrant and refugee community in Chlorakas and more particularly those in the Agios Nicolaos building complex are subjected to an indiscriminate and totally inappropriate attack by the government,” said a KISA announcement.

KISA argues that: “The Agios Nicolaos building complex provides much better living conditions than the overwhelming majority of similar private buildings.”

The organisation also claims the local authorities illegally cut the water to the complex to push the refugee families out.