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Nineteen arrested for Zahra Street fight

Turkish Cypriot police, police car, north police, police department
File photo: police car in the north

A total of 19 people have been arrested as of Monday after a mass brawl occurred on northern Nicosia’s popular Zahra Street on Thursday.

Four of the arrestees, all boys aged just 16, appeared in court on Monday, with police officer Cemal Pinardan explaining in court that those involved had “caused fear, panic, and concern among the public” when the fight broke out.

He added that the police had launched a “comprehensive investigation” into the matter, and that there was a “high possibility” of charges of possessing an offensive weapon and causing serious bodily harm being brought against some of those arrested.

The four in court together were all remanded in custody for two days. The fifth person to appear in court, whose age was not disclosed, was remanded for one day.

A further fourteen males, aged between 17 and 34, all appeared in court on Saturday, with Pinardan saying the fight had broken out due to “pre-existing hostility” between the men and boys.

He said at the time that a further 25 people were wanted, meaning that as of Monday, 20 people are still wanted by police in connection with the fight.

Prosecutor Senem Palabiyik had said the fight “caused outrage in society”.

The fourteen arrested on Saturday were remanded in custody for three days.

On Friday, Turkish Cypriot Nicosia Mayor Mehmet Harmanci had described the fight as a “mafia exercise”, while eyewitnesses said the street had “turned into a warzone”.

“What happened last night on Zahra Street was not just a simple fight, but power exercises carried out by mafia groups, as happens in every area of the country,” Harmaci said.

Addressing the mafia groups himself, he said “the point to which you have brought this country is chaos in every domain. We are not part of your order; we created what we created with our fingernails.”

We will not waste the success of the old town on you,” he said.

Zahra Street is located in Nicosia’s old town, atop the western side of the city walls. In recent years, it has become a hub of social spaces, cafes, restaurants, bars, and other entertainment venues.

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