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Cyprus

Government condemns demo outside TV station

Sigma

The government on Friday condemned a protest held the previous night outside Sigma TV in Nicosia, during which a group of people stopped the traffic and started shouting slogans against the station’s managing director Chrysanthos Tsouroulis.

The situation escalated when police arrived and tear gas was used to disperse the group.

Three people aged 28, 27 and 20 were arrested, while two more are sought.

According to police spokesman Christos Andreou, earlier in the day a convoy of around 80 vehicles arrived outside the philoxenia conference centre in Aglandjia, where parliament committees were meeting, but they were prevented from going near the building. Around 55 of these vehicles then set off for the roundabout outside Dias publishing group, where Sigma TV is, and hindered traffic.

They arrived there at around 7pm.

The group started shouting slogans against politicians, but also Sigma TV and Tsouroulis, saying he had criticised them.

Andreou told the Cyprus News Agency that many of the protesters were not wearing masks nor were they social distancing.

When police officers arrived, the protesters continued to throw rocks and disturb the peace, Andreou said, adding that tear gas was used. The situation had calmed down by around 8pm.

Sigma TV reported that oncoming cars were damaged by the rocks hurled by the protesters.

The incident was condemned by many, including the government and Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.

“Attacks and hate speech against the media and journalists are attacks on democracy and are therefore completely reprehensible and will not be tolerated by the government,” deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said on Friday.

He added, however, that it was imperative for everyone to act with the maximum possible maturity during the pandemic period while those with high public profiles ought to avoid fuelling tensions through their statements or actions.

“In this difficult time, prudence and solidarity are needed to be able to face the crisis,” Ioannou said.

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