Christakis Meleties, community leader of Kokkinotrimithia, on Thursday called for the Pournara migrant reception to be relocated – “we’re done”.

“We want Pournara to close – we’ve reached our limits – we [Kokkinotrimithia] have taken on a considerable burden on behalf of all of Cyprus,” the outspoken community leader told Sigma.

Pournara has become symbol of Cyprus’ challenges in dealing with massively increased waves of irregular migration. It regularly receives criticism from both those who say the government is not doing enough to help asylum seekers and those who wish to see fewer irregular migrants arrive.

His call for the centre to close came soon after footage went viral on social media of a naked man wandering through the village during daylight.

Meleties further claimed that another mass brawl again broke out involving dozens of asylum seekers, as he bemoaned police resources constantly being diverted to the centre.

“There’s an incident every day, either it’s a theft or a threat, a house is entered without permission,” he said, explaining how daily life for the locals is constantly disturbed.

Residents previously raised the alarm over those from Pournara leaving the reception centre and crossing the highway on foot. Just last month a young man was fatally struck by a car.

Meleties stressed that he will call for a meeting with the new interior minister following the handover of government.

“It must go somewhere else, we’re done here, we’ve done our work – it cannot go on any longer… we’re not inhuman but we must also be able to live normally; as the rest do,” he explained.

He further claimed that the government has acted but is not taking the necessary measures – there appears to be a tacit acceptance – “but we will not accept the situation as it is”.

Meleties has previously claimed that traffickers stop by at the Pournara facility and drop off irregular migrants. And citing police data, he said there was a massive increase in the use of cocaine and that Pournara “is full of drugs.”

In June, parliament was told that the reception centre, initially designed for a capacity for 400 people, currently hosts around ten times that number.

It was recently announced that the fencing surrounding Pournara will be bolstered, while Cyprus earlier this month signed an agreement for a further €13m in funding towards the centre.

Just last week, Interior Minister Nikos Nouris hailed the 1,172 returns which took place in January – a huge boost of 469 per cent compared to the 250 returned in January 2022.