Police did everything necessary to ensure calm, order and security in Chlorakas, police spokesman Christos Andreou said on Monday, saying that they are “unjustly receiving criticism” and that on four different occasions they “prevented the worst”.
Following a peaceful anti-migrant protest held on Sunday in Chlorakas, Paphos, small extreme-right groups splintered off and attacked migrant businesses, cars and some people.
Responding to the complaints and criticism of the police’s possible delay in responding, Andreou clarified that for three years the force has carried out checks and complaints in Chlorakas.
With reference to Sunday’s operation, Andreou told the Cyprus News Agency that initially during the Chlorakas operation, approximately 70 members from both the Paphos police and Paphos riot police and other cities participated. When it was deemed necessary to reinforce the forces in the area, another 23 personnel were called in from Paphos.
Andreou said that earlier on Monday a meeting was held in the presence of the police chief and upon its completion instructions were given for an increased police presence there on a 24-hour basis.
Commenting on the history of police presence and checks on the “Agios Nikolaos” apartment complex, where migrants had been squatting, Andreou said that after the first decree that came into force on 11/12/2020 from the interior ministry banning more political asylum seekers in Chlorakas, the police started checks on specific apartments.
During 2021, a total of 131 operations were carried out, 891 apartments were checked, and 39 persons were identified who had violated the decree of the interior ministry.
Within 2021, additional meetings followed by the authorities regarding the external supply of water to the complex using tankers for which a prohibition decree was also issued by the Paphos district pffice. From that date onwards, Andreou said, the Paphos police began daily intensive checks both in the complex and in the surrounding area.
In 2022, he added, a total of 93 operations were carried out and 1,573 apartments were inspected. Fifty-four foreigners were identified residing there in violation of the decree. Another 121 operations were carried out to prevent traffic violations and other criminal cases. During the above checks in 2022, 11 apartments were found to have illegal electricity and for which 15 persons had criminal cases filed against them for fraudulent appropriation of energy.
In 2023, another 11 operations were carried out Andreou said, adding that they checked 89 apartments and identified 31 foreigners who have been accused of various charges that are being investigated by the Paphos police.
Therefore, he concluded, it is unfair to say that the police did not and are not doing their full duty in relation to the cases involving either the apartment complex in question or the Chlorakas area.