The administrative court has issued an injunction halting any work to relocate an asphalt plant to the Mitsero area, pending a hearing on the substance of the dispute.
Communities living in the proximity of the planned factory have gone to court to challenge the relocation. They say the area already has too many nuisance factories and that both the environment and their health will be at risk.
Authorities have issued building permits for the planned factory saying all criteria have been met. Communities are opposing the planned relocation both in court and with a series of protests.
The injunction comes a week after the departure of an excavator sent to the area to delineate the planned factory following lengthy protests by local residents.
They were able to obtain verbal reassurances from the president’s office that the works will not go forward for the time being.
Moreover, a meeting between the leaders of the 12 communities and President Nicos Anasatasiades is set to take place on August 25.
The communities concern Mitsero, Kato Moni, Agrokipia, Agios Ioannis, Arediou, Malounta, Meniko, Orounta, Ayia Marina, Ayios Epiphanios, Kalo Chorio and Klirou.
The Nicosia administrative court confirmed “the likelihood of irreparable harm to the residents of the 12 communities due to the planned relocation of the plant, which could affect their quality of life and level of health.”
However, the court also conceded “the importance of the government’s plan to relocate the plant”, therefore issuing a parallel order for expediting a hearing into the case.
Last week, a police officers’ association rejected the accusation of police brutality during the protests, when local residents of the 12 affected communities blocked part of the Kato Moni to Ayios Ioannis Mallountas road.
The community leaders of Mitsero and Agrokipia, Andreas Kyriacou and Sotiris Kyriacou, were also arrested for obstructing the progress of the excavator sent to delineate the site, and for verbally insulting police. They were taken to Lakatamia police station in Nicosia, where they were charged and released.
Following the arrests, the Cyprus environmental movement group (PKK) called for their release claiming police used “excessive force”. The NGO also called for an end to any work to install the “death factory”.
Political parties and other organisations also echoed the criticism of police.
Videos published on social media showed the tense situation between the demonstrators and police officers, who pushed and shoved several people.
Following a public outcry accusing the police of excessive force use, the police officers’ association Isotita (Equality) said that the accusations are unfounded, adding that the issue started when an officer had to be taken to hospital after feeling ill due to the severe heat.