Calls for the resignation of Cyprus’ police chief and justice minister were still on the table on Monday, as the police’s widely condemned failure to deal with Friday’s protests led to diplomatic repercussions.

The British High Commission said it was “concerned about the impact escalating tension has on residents and social cohesion”. Condemning the violence against migrants in Chlorakas and Limassol, it said “Cyprus accommodates thousands of migrants and refugees, as well as millions of tourists yearly. We stand with all those affected.”

Limassol’s city centre was tarnished by mob violence on Friday night as groups of protesters went on a racist rampage during an anti-immigrant demo, beating up foreign nationals and targeting Syrian businesses at the Molos sea front and surrounding areas.

It has since emerged that the police brief ahead of the planned protest deemed the event to have a high-risk warning for aggressive behaviour, disruption to community including residents and businesses as well as political tension due to fanaticism.

Nonetheless, the situation veered out of control within minutes, leaving members of the public beaten, while others were exposed to danger as Molotov cocktails were thrown about without restraint. One tourist was beaten up and an unspecified Gulf country has since sent Cyprus a demarche over the incident.

Eyewitnesses said the number of police officers present on the scene far outnumbered the mobs while University of Cyprus professor Dr Yiannis Papadakis told Politis what he witnessed on the scene “was not a failure but tolerance”.

“There were around 30 hooded individuals going past Limassol’s seafront, smashing shop windows and anything they could. Around 250 metres away across the road, was a huge team of anti-riot police which were at least three times more in numbers.

“They just watched and followed at a distance without interference. Police need to answer to this.”

Police did not respond to a Cyprus Mail request for comment.

Chairman of the port authority Antonis Stylianou who was the port area said he too had been attacked by the thugs and his mobile phone stolen. He also charged “a police presence was nowhere to be seen until the mayhem began.” As a result, people began to take cover under tables at restaurants to escape, he added.

Though President Nikos Christodoulides conceded the events were shameful, he did not request anyone’s resignation though it has since emerged he was unhappy with police’s briefing after the incidents. Police chief Stelios Papatheodorou and Justice Minister Anna Procopiou were both at the emergency meeting called by the president on Saturday.

A counter-demo on Saturday on anti-fascism went by without incident, however the planned events for this week will put the force to the test once again.

An anti-fascist demo organised by Akel took place without incident on Monday night in Limassol, while an anti-immigrant protest will take place outside the presidential palace on Wednesday.

The fracas on Friday led to 13 arrests including the event organiser, while a prison guard has been placed on administrative leave as one of the men arrested is a convict with an electronic bracelet that was supposed to be in Nicosia.

Police have since said the protest on Friday attracted 500 individuals, a number which has widely been disputed by eye-witnesses who said the participants numbered around 200.

Though no official justification has been made from the police leadership, the chairman of the police union Isotita Nikos Loizides said the core issue was that the protests were not organised by a registered group with a legal framework.

As such, it should not have been allowed to go ahead, he added.

The incidents on Friday sparked widespread condemnation.

Members of the public rallied around a Vietnamese immigrant, who had a breakdown after her store was smashed to pieces and money stolen from her till. A funding campaign has received over €25,000 while the government has pledged to help affected migrants that saw their businesses torn down.