A group of Emba residents on Wednesday staged a protest demanding the government handle the levels of refugee settlement in the community following a violent incident last week that resulted in property damage. The ‘Emba Residents Initiative Team’ briefly blocked traffic in the community’s main road, saying they would “not accept huge migrant flows to continue” and holding signs demanding “respect and quality of life”.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Nicos Mavronicolas said the protest came as a response to an attack on the village’s coffee shop that saw the premises and cars damaged and ended with three arrests.
Paphos police arrested a 23-year-old and a 31-year-old in connection to the incident, who were each remanded for three days.
On Tuesday, a third man, aged 35, was arrested for carrying a weapon during the incident and was charged in writing. He will face the court at a later date.
Emba residents helped the first refugees that came to the community from warzones, Mavronicolas said, adding the community is now worried as numbers have shot up to 1,500.
“We are sounding the alarm for those in charge to listen to our demands,” he said, adding that the safety of the otherwise peaceful village is being threatened.
As for nearby Chlorakas, community leader Nicolas Liasides said issues persist, suggesting that the only solution might be repurposing abandoned army barracks to house asylum seekers and refugees.
The protest was attended by MPs, with Disy’s Charalambos Pazaros saying that “what is happening in Emba and other communities is a preview of what will follow in the next decade” if illegal crossings are not effectively controlled.
For his part, Diko’s Chrysanthos Savvides called on Interior Minister Nicos Nouris to visit the community soon and talk to local communities, also urging the police chief to restore the local police station.