The nine communities around Vasiliko have suspended their blockade of the electricity authority’s power station and the waste management site at Pentakomo following a successful meeting with Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis late on Wednesday in Mari.

During the meeting, residents voiced their concerns regarding the growing health and ecological risks in the area.

The breakthrough came at the end of the first day of action launched by the communities following two fires in the area. On Wednesday, protesters had blocked access to anyone working at the facilities, aside from those in charge of safety and security. A strong police presence was deployed to avoid incidents.

In a statement, the organising committee of the nine communities said they had decided to suspend action after receiving reassurances from Kadis regarding the management of the two facilities, along with the promise that a special governmental health inspector assigned to the Vasiliko area will be appointed.

“All issues concerning Vasiliko were discussed with the agriculture minister,” the statement said.

“Moreover, representatives of the nine communities will also have a chance to have an audience with President Nicos Anastasiades around the end of July.”

The statement also added that the issues raised with Kadis concerned the frequent accidents occurring in the area, the decision to move the asphalt plants from Dali to the Vasiliko area and the new industrial developments threatening health and environment.

An immediate upgrade to staffing of the nearby fire station was also one of the demands voiced by the communities.

On Tuesday, Kalavasos community leader Lefteris Fokas accused the fire service of passivity in their response to the fire that broke out at the waste treatment plant in Pentakomo last Friday.

However, on Wednesday he said he was misquoted by the media and said his statements were only made on behalf of the nine communities.

“After a productive dialogue, we decided to lift the blockade temporarily. However, should our concerns and demands not be heard and met, we will resume our demonstrations in defence of our health,” the statement concluded.