A police patrol car was destroyed by fire in Limassol on Saturday night when officers had a number of run-ins with people trying to set bonfires in various areas. Paphos also saw a number of incidents in the early hours.

In Limassol, CNA reported, several areas resembled a war zone with youngsters clashing with police as they tried to light bonfires and threw firecrackers at officers.

At some point, in the Ayios Nikolaos area, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a patrol car engulfing it in flames. The officers in the vehicle managed to get out on time, the report said. The vehicle was completely destroyed.

A Limassol police spokesman told CNA on Sunday that other cars were set on fire, as were tyres, and stone-throwing at officers was rampant. Police had to intervene in 29 cases in Limassol, the spokesman said. He said a second patrol car was damaged by fire in Zakaki.

“Unfortunately, we had the burning of two police vehicles and material damage to two others,” the spokesman said. “Fortunately we did not have any injuries to colleagues.”

From investigations, various statements have been received, and explosive devices, crackers and fireworks recovered and the force is in the process of tracking down the perps.

Paphos police said on Sunday that groups of young people in various areas, also tried to light ‘Judas’ bonfires late Saturday despite a ban on such activities.

In the village of Panagia they tried to light a fire in the village churchyard but were stopped by a police patrol. Reports said the youngsters at first refused to comply and were aggressive towards officers but the situation didn’t escalate and they youngsters moved off.

Police said they responded to five such incidents during the early hours.

The fire department said that between 6am on Saturday and 6am on Sunday it responded to 272 calls for assistance that included 261 incidents of fire. In the previous 24 hours period, they had received 128 such calls.

In Nicosia there were 133 calls, Limassol 36, Larnaca 45, Paphos 26 and 9 in the Famagusta area.

The most serious incidents for the fire department included a fire at a ground-floor apartment in Dherynia where a dog was rescued, a fire at a Paphos livestock shed that killed 20 sheep and a house fire in Strovolos in Nicosia that damaged the living room. Two people were taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.