For two days, the residents of Nicosia and others travelling to the capital at certain times, experienced chaotic traffic scenes as police enforced strict security measures during the movements of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Such inconvenience was experienced on Monday, but it was even worse on Tuesday with the arrival of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
One driver, attempting to travel from Nicosia’s Hilton area towards the town at around 9.45am, said the traffic was impossible.
“You couldn’t get on to Grivas Dhigenis Avenue, every junction leading up to it had 50 cars waiting all blowing their horns,” Andreas Georgiou said. “I tried several routes but they were all blocked. I asked a traffic warden when the roads would be opening again and amazingly she didn’t know.”
He said it’s not acceptable that the authorities inconvenience thousands of people over two days over the visit of one dignitary.
“Other colleagues needed one hour to get to work for what should have been five minutes,” he added. “What is this? A third world country?”
The problem was compounded as Constantinos Palaiologos Street, a road parallel to Rigenis Street in the old town was also closed on Monday and Tuesday, this time for works by Cyta and the electricity authority.
“There was only one way to come into Nicosia,” Stella Lambrou commented. “It was unbelievable, I was going round and round in circles. There were no signs telling you where to go, only that the road is closed.”
According to police spokesman Michalis Michael, the situation was not that bad, at least not because of the visiting dignitaries. He said there were no particular problems.
“We only closed some roads for a few minutes for them to pass by,” he said on Tuesday. “For security reasons we have to keep them closed until they are some distance away.”
It is also for security reasons that police officers don’t disclose when the roads will open again, not because of ignorance, he added.
Police had already announced on Monday that they would not tell which roads would be closed when as this was necessary to ensure the visitors enjoyed maximum protection.
All should be back to normal by the afternoon, though Michael would not say when exactly.