Cyprus Mail

Police charge and release nine pupils for attacks against Turkish Cypriots (update 4)

Students taking part in Monday's demonstration

By Andria Kades

Nine of the 15 teenagers arrested for the attacks against Turkish Cypriots during school demonstrations against the occupation, were charged and released on Thursday.

The remaining six in police custody were likewise expected to be charged and released, police spokesman Andreas Angelides said.

He added CID are continuing their investigation into the incident, and the aim was to get to the bottom of the case so that it can go to court.

The pupils, aged between 16 and 18, were arrested in connection with Monday’s events and faced charges of assault causing actual bodily harm, malicious damage, disturbing the peace, incitement to hate and violence, racism, and conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour.

Initially, four pupils were arrested on Wednesday and five more the same night and early on Thursday morning. The remaining six were apprehended by Thursday afternoon, police said.

All the suspects go to the same school, Kykkos A lyceum.

Education minister Costas Kadis denied the school had any problems in the past, but speaking on state radio he said “some of the suspects had disciplinary issues, let’s put it that way.”

He refrained from disclosing more information as it is an ongoing investigation and said the school would put measures in place.

“They will be punished, of course they will be punished… We are very concerned with what has happened.”

Demetris Taliadoros, the head of OELMEK, the secondary education teachers’ union, condemned the incidents. He said educators encouraged politicised pupils, but they wanted them to use critical thinking.

“There are political and party interventions in the student body,” that are affecting youths, he said, adding that pupils were largely divided between the AKEL and DISY spheres of ideology.

Taliadoros acknowledged the existence of “extremist organisations” within schools, but defended the education system, saying that although “the books may not be the best, they do not promote hatred.”

The incidents happened between 11am and 1pm on Monday. Two Turkish Cypriots sustained light injuries.

One incident one took place on the junction known as the Milano traffic lights in Engomi.

Pupils attacked a car with Turkish Cypriot plates but the driver escaped uninjured.

Another incident took place nearby on Hytron Street, near the Nicosia district office.

A father and a son were attacked inside their car by a group of pupils throwing stones. The father was injured and the car was damaged, police said.

A third attack took place on Grivas Dighenis Avenue. A Turkish Cypriot suffered injury to the eye.

The attacks were condemned on Wednesday night by President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

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