Some 25 shopkeepers in Paphos were furious on Thursday after they woke up to find their shop shades seized by local authorities.

The incident may make an interesting start for the new minister of interior Constantinos Ioannou, as shopkeepers angrily said they were going to send him a letter of complaint through their lawyer. They will also be writing to the police chief.

It was 6am on Thursday when the awnings began being dismantled for somewhere between 20 to 30 shops, including souvenir shops. They are all located at the Paphos seafront.

Affected shopkeepers told CNA they paid some €15,000 to get their sunshades installed. Apparently, the former municipal council had ruled in favour for the construction of shades, but the city’s mayor Phedonas Phedonos has shrugged it off, saying he is not bound by decisions made by the previous council.

The shopkeepers also claim they tried to discuss the issue with the mayor during a meeting on Wednesday, however they accuse him of refusing to hear them out.

A lawyer who has taken on their case, Ioanna Neophytou, said she was exploring the possibility of taking the legal route so as to ensure the shopkeepers rights.

Neophytou added that the municipality, as the town planning authority, is required to inform citizens ahead of time and give them a timeframe with which to comply in.

“This has not happened in this case.”

She hinted that there may have been irregularities surrounding the sunshades but these may not be the fault of the shopkeepers.