Political parties on Monday condemned the attacks on people and homes in Chlorakas during an anti-migrant protest overnight, while far-right opposition Elam has instead blamed the attacks on migrants.
The attacks seem to have been conducted by small extreme-right groups that splintered from what was deemed a “peaceful protest” against the migration crisis and operations to remove illegal migrants from the Chlorakas area by all political parties held earlier on Sunday.
Several right-wing Elam officials were present at the event, including the party’s press representative Geadis Geadis, who stated that the events in Chlorakas prove that the situation “has gotten out of control” while calling for a strict immigration policy.
However, in an incendiary statement Elam said that the attacks were carried out by migrants. “We want back our neighbourhoods, our villages, our cities that have ghettoised. We want out country back,” the party said in a statement.
They added that the government needs to implement a strict migration policy, including mass arrests and deportations, “for all that do not respect the hospitality of our country”.
Other parties though lashed out on the attacks, saying that including Elam on discussions about migration is a mistake.
“Preventive politics should be in place for dealing with such extreme right elements,” Akel leader Stephanos Stephanou said, adding that the inclusion of far-right party Elam in state discussions about demographic change and migration was a mistake.
Stephanos Stephanou unequivocally called the night’s events an “organised pogrom” and blamed them on the current and previous state’s tolerance of far-right party Elam’s unacceptable racist, fanatical and anti-migration views.
Stephanou further lambasted the previous government’s “non-existent” immigration policy and ineptitude in securing proper housing for asylum seekers.
“We are under obligation from the European Union to house political refugees,” the Akel spokesman said. Asked where and how these refugees and asylum seekers should be housed, however, Stephanou deferred, stating the state had a responsibility to find a solution.
Opposition Disy also condemned the incidents saying that things in Chlorakas have reached a breaking point.
Centre-right Diko and Depa also deplored them, saying that violence cannot be a solution.
Depa said: “Such phenomena cause the justified discomfort and concern of the residents and force the immediate resolution of the problem, so that the laws of our country are fully respected by all. Depa, at the same time, condemns in the strongest possible way every act of violence, racism and xenophobia, as manifested by the organised action of a small portion of far-right elements, in the peaceful demonstration of the residents of Chlorakas.”
Centre-left party Edek released a statement condemning the “deviant acts” which it said “had nothing to do with the peaceful protest of the Chlorakas residents and did not serve the purposes of their demonstration”.
“Edek clearly reiterates that there should be no tolerance of such behaviour, by anyone, immigrants or not, that violate the laws of the Republic of Cyprus and cause problems with safety, lives and property.”
Earlier party leader Marinos Sizopoulos had said that the message sent by the party’s presence at the event had to do with the protection of the community and the “decolonisation of the area from illegal immigrants.
“It’s one thing for political refugees who come from war zones and should receive appropriate support, and another for illegal immigrants to flood our homeland in the context of a hybrid war waged by Turkey with specific goals and for a specific purpose,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Cyprus Green Party said that everyone has the right to protest, but that they condemn the vandalism and attacks in Chlorakas.
“We understand the concerns of the residents of the surrounding area as well as the right of every citizen to protest, but inciting fear, thuggery and violence is a highly condemnable and unacceptable act. This kind of behaviour is in no way acceptable and offends the very institution of democracy,” the party said.
They called on the government to put an end to the situation in the area.