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Migrants at Pournara stage protest

Photo: Christos Theodorides)

Migrants at the Pournara reception centre in  Kokkinitrimithia on Wednesday morning protested against their forced detention at the centre by gathering near the central entrance forbidding anyone to enter.

Sources said migrants were holding banners and yelling slogans to be allowed free as they have been isolated in the refugee camp since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak on the island in March 9.

The protest started early in the morning and finished before 10am.

Those who arrived before the outbreak are separated from those who arrived during the pandemic, information said on Wednesday.

The centre, designed to host asylum seekers for a maximum of 72 hours until health checks are carried out, currently hosts about 700 people in mobile units and tents.

An announcement issued by the interior ministry on Tuesday said they would only host those who respect the laws of the country that is willing to host them. It added that as soon as the conditions allow it, they would repatriate those who did not respect the law “no matter how many people will protest our decision”.

The statement was a response to a protest held on Sunday by the left-wing group Antifa Nicosia.

“In the difficult days ahead, we are fighting collectively for the dignity of those who have been forgotten” Antifa said on their Facebook page.

Following the end of restrictive measures implemented during the pandemic, the cabinet declared the centre an infectious area because of a scabies outbreak so the exit of migrants was still prohibited.

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