The state will take all measures necessary to ensure public safety after the riots and violence in Chlorakas, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.

His statements came on the heels of seven arrests overnight following the riots that saw shattered shop windows and a host of violent attacks against foreign nationals in the area. Paphos district court has already remanded 16 individuals for eight days, as police continue investigations and gather evidence.

“All action plans are constantly being evaluated and where we see weaknesses, there will be accountability,” Letymbiotis said when asked about those responsible for the incidents.

“The priority today is to take all measures to ensure we never see incidents of the sort again.”

The protest saw two nights of violence and left scores of migrants in the community shaken after many were attacked by extremists who chanted “get out”.

Commenting on the migrants being transferred from the apartment complex in Chlorakas to Kofinou, the spokesman reiterated that where irregular migrants are concerned, they will be deported immediately.

Asylum seekers have been offered the opportunity to voluntarily return and those who belong to vulnerable groups or have young children will have the support of the deputy welfare ministry to find them accommodation.

The complex which has housed over 600 migrants, will be fully shut down and locked in a matter of days, Letymbiotis added.

Asked if the government is satisfied with how police handled the riots in Chlorakas, the spokesman said what matters most is ensuring public safety and having police presence in the area.

Letymbiotis said the day’s cabinet meeting included a briefing from the interior minister on the migration issue.

“It is the first time in the history of Cyprus’ migration crisis that there are more irregular migrants leaving the country than arriving,” the spokesman specified.

While last year there were about 1,000 applications processed per month, the figure is now at 1,800 monthly, he added.

Additionally, the number of returns processed at a special court evaluating applications has almost doubled.

The government has undertaken an information campaign in Cameroon, Congo and Nigeria, aimed at tackling misinformation, for instance clarifying that Cyprus in not a Schengen area country.

Arrivals have gone down by 55 per cent in the past four months compared to the same period last year, while asylum applications this year have been reduced by 53 per cent, compared to the respective timeframe in 2022.

At the same time, infrastructure is being improved, with works at Pournara amounting to €25 million. Expected to be completed by October, the works “will solve problems and improve conditions”.

Letymbiotis noted the reception centre in Kofinou has been completed while a new reception centre in Limnes costing €80m will be completed in two years. It was to have a capacity for 1,000 people and operate as a pre-departure centre.

This will enable 1,000 individuals to leave every three weeks, the spokesman added. He specified the government is also clamping down on undeclared work, with 83 cases found out of 1,525 inspections carried out between May and July this year.