A police car was completely destroyed on Easter Saturday night in what Limassol police spokesman Lefteris Kyriakou called an “organised attack”.

The car had been set on fire when police responded to a call regarding youths congregating with Molotov cocktails in hand.

The incident took place on the side of the road between Ypsonas and Erimi in the Limassol district, with police being informed that the youths had been throwing Molotov cocktails and firecrackers at passing vehicles.

Riot police arrived on the scene and were subsequently attacked by about 100 people throwing Molotov cocktails, firecrackers, and rocks at them. They deployed tear gas to disperse the crowds, but not before the group had set fire to one of the police’s vehicles.

Four other police cars sustained material damage in the incident.

Lefteris Kyriakou explained that “after they parked their cars, they were attacked in an organised manner by about 100 people who had their faces covered and who threw Molotov cocktails, firecrackers, and fireworks at the vehicles and at the police.”

He added that that he believes the attack was a direct response to the heightened police presence and increased checks carried out in recent days ahead of the Easter period.

He said “more than 30 arrests” of young people had been made in the build up to Easter, and that even though the specific area falls inside the British Sovereign Base Area of Akrotiri, the police responded due to the imminent danger posed by the incident.

He added, “youth delinquency is a more general problem which should concern us all regarding how we control our children.”

No arrests have been made thus far in relation to the specific incident as the crowds fled once the tear gas was deployed. However, police found two bottles containing flammable liquid at the scene and took them as evidence.

Their investigation into the matter is ongoing.

On Sunday morning, the Cyprus police association condemned the previous night’s incident, saying it strongly condemns the “unacceptable attack on our police colleagues who were performing their duties in Ypsonas”.

They added that while the incident passed without injury, “we will remain on our colleagues’ side and we will not accept such attacks on our colleagues without consequences for those responsible.”

Meanwhile, trade union Isotita’s police branch chairman Nikos Loizidis said police officers’ “lives were in danger” during the incident.

He added that his union “stands with our colleagues”, and that the incident had caused “discomfort”.

“We have reached the end of our tether. Now, we are talking about people’s lives. We are not just numbers, nor are we expendable,” he said.

He called for stricter legislation on the custom of lambradjia, the lighting of fires during the Easter period, and said “once again, it was only by luck that we are not mourning people this morning, since the whole situation derailed last night.”

“If some people do not care about the lives of our colleagues, it is our duty to defend them and support them. Police officers are in danger, and ordinary people are in danger, too,” he said.