Tensions overnight flared up once more at the unaccompanied minors’ facility in Paphos at the Tombs of the Kings area, it was reported on Wednesday.
Police are investigating the latest episode amid rising concerns that incidents between minors and authorities, including scuffles with the police, and altercations between groups of minors are becoming a daily fact.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, around 11.00pm on Tuesday, some minors gathered outside the facility’s clinic asking for medicine.
When the nurse informed them that they were not entitled to the particular drug because they are minors, they allegedly pushed the nurse and smashed the glass of the clinic’s entrance door.
Another recent episode unfolded as a protest outside the Paphos district court offices when older residents at the facility were angered over being expelled, due to no longer possessing minor status, claiming they had nowhere else to go.
State broadcaster CyBC on Wednesday reported that damages and unrest are a constant feature at the facility, constituting a “headache” for the police and local residents of the area.
Last year clashes at the centre made the news in April and May when an escalating football row resulted in the injury of five minors, two of whom needed treatment at the Paphos hospital A&E, and anti-riot police were deployed to settle the situation.
Mayor of Paphos Phedonas Phedonos at the time posted a video of the incidents with the text: “This is what happens at the hotel in Paphos where unaccompanied minors are hosted. There are political responsibilities for the failure of the state to manage this issue. Will anyone shoulder them? Surely not.”
The mayor has repeatedly stated that a decisive solution must be found, and that drugs, prostitution and other crimes and delinquent behaviours are rampant, as well as fraudulent representation of minor status.
He had originally in good will accepted to house the minors in Paphos (including some who were transferred from the Pournara reception centre) because he believed them to be children fleeing from war, the mayor said, but this turned out not to be the case.
Meanwhile, welfare services’ attempts to offer educational and other programmes towards societal integration appear to be failing, while the mayor has also blasted the competent authorities, including the education ministry, charging they had let down the municipality.