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Chlorakas migrants from apartment complex will be moved (Updated)

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President Christodoulides meeting with minister and police chief on Monday

The government on Monday decided migrants living in an apartment complex in Chlorakas should be kicked out and relocated to Kofinou.

Police were instructed to execute the order immediately, after a meeting chaired by President Nikos Christodoulides with the attorney general, ministers of interior and justice, deputy welfare minister, undersecretary to the president and police chief.

The migration department will begin noting down all asylum seekers who have been living in the contentious Ayios Nikolaos apartment bloc in Chlorakas.

According to government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis, legal residents will have a two-week timeframe to find an alternative place to live but in the meantime will be sent to Kofinou. Vulnerable groups and families with minors will have support from the deputy welfare ministry.

Those living here illegally will be arrested and deported immediately.

The count is expected to be wrapped by this Friday, and all migrants will be transferred to the Kofinou reception centre where their applications will be immediately evaluated.

They will also be presented with the option to voluntarily return to their home country.

Christodoulides has also ordered police to increase inspections in the area “to fully ensure public order”.

Akel said the decision raised a number of questions, but it would be issuing a full statement at a later time. Head of the Paphos branch Andreas Fakontis told the Cyprus Mail “some things are difficult to understand. Those who have two weeks to find a new place, what will happen to them if they cannot find another home? Will they throw them out?”

Edek on the other hand praised the decision, saying it was in the right direction to permanently resolve the “dysfunctional situation that migrants in Chlorakas were causing”.

It called on the government to carry out the same motif in other areas across the country where “ghettoisation and frequent violent behaviour against citizens and property”, is observed.

 

Protest by the residents of the apartment complex in Chlorakas
Protest by the residents of the apartment complex in Chlorakas

Depa issued a statement also heralding Christodoulides’ move, saying that although Cyprus had to respect its obligations over asylum seekers and migration matters, “they too have to adhere to the laws of the state and respect the country which hosts them.”

Asked if the area will be fenced off, the spokesman said all necessary measures will be taken to implement the decree issued by the Paphos district officer in November 2021 but has yet to be implemented.

The decree banned the use of the Ayios Nikolaos complex for health and safety reasons.

Christodoulides stressed on Monday that the decree must go into effect immediately.

Head of the Chlorakas community council Nikolas Liasides heralded the developments, saying “we are satisfied with the measures.”

The community expects actions and strict implementation of all measures, he added. The primary goal should be to avoid having the complex being occupied again, until the problems that led to its current state are resolved.

Liasides said Christodoulides assured him personally that the government was determined to tackle the problem and avoid it becoming an example for other areas.

Around 600 people were reported to be living there last year and two months ago, three people were arrested for electricity theft by connecting to the nearby substation. According to the head of the Chlorakas community council, this has been happening for months.

Protest by the residents of the apartment complex in Chlorakas

The issue came to head last week, after their electricity was cut off by the EAC and the substation placed under guard. Around 100 people began protesting and demanding to be housed elsewhere.

Nonetheless the protest turned violent with police’s anti-riot unit intervening and chemical irritants used against the demonstrators.

The rear windshield of a police vehicle was damaged from the rock throwing.

Residents in Chlorakas carried out their own protest last week holding banners which read “#NoMoreFakeRefugees” and called on the government to act, saying the neighbourhood was no longer as peaceful and quiet as it used to be.

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