A row over racism has erupted in the north on Tuesday night and Wednesday after a lifeguard at Famagusta’s popular Glapsides beach said he had banned Pakistanis and “blacks” from the beach.

In a post on Facebook published on Tuesday evening, the lifeguard, 28-year-old Hasan Kirmizi, who goes by the nickname “Gocco”, listed the “rules” of the beach, which included that “Pakistani nationals are banned from entering the beach” and “blacks are banned from entering”.

The post garnered strong reactions across social media, with Kirmizi then writing a second post on Facebook, writing that “I am a racist but as a worker, I have to take precautions, sorry, but I cannot turn a blind eye to anything, I laid down the law, if that is racist, let it be racist.”

The first two posts were then deleted, but Kirmizi then posted a photograph of four men walking on the side of a road in the early hours of Wednesday morning, writing, “they are like herds, but thank God they will manage our homeland. Do not share this, that would make us racist.”

He then returned with a video message later on Wednesday morning. In the video, he read a handwritten note, in which he said he had in fact not been racist and added, “if you saw what I see, you would see I am right.”

“Let’s talk about Pakistanis. Every weekend, 20 or 30 Pakistanis come to our beach,” he began, adding that they “get changed in front of everyone” and “get in the sea wearing boxer shorts”.

“As a lifeguard, I cannot let them go in the sea like that. I tell them there are families here and that if they want to go in the sea like that, they should go somewhere else where there are no people,” he said.

He added that some Pakistani nationals on the beach “take photographs of women who are at the beach, or even take videos of 14- or 15-year-old girls.”

He said that on Sunday, “two young girls had caught the eye of 11 or 12 people”. He said the girls were scared and calling for help and the Pakistani nationals were walking behind them, and that he had to intervene.

“This is not racism or exclusion, this is about safety,” he said, adding that a number of Pakistani nationals had arrived at the beach and begun to drink alcohol, eat food, and shout, and that he had issued them three warnings, but he had been left alone.

For this, he blamed the Turkish Cypriot Famagusta Municipality, saying there should be local police present at the beach.

Turkish Cypriot Famagusta mayor Suleyman Ulucay responded to the first two posts on Tuesday evening, pointing out that Glapsides beach is privately owned, and decrying the rhetoric expressed by Kirmizi.

“We will never accept this approach, which flies in the face of human rights,” he said, adding that his municipality would “take the necessary legal action” against the business should needs require.

No one should consider themselves above the law,” he added.

Kirmizi is a member of the UBP, one of the north’s three ruling political parties, and has been pictured as recently as on Monday with high profile figures in the north.

He met with ‘labour minister’ Sadik Gardiyanoglu and ‘health minister’ Hakan Dincyurek on Monday, as well as ‘MP’ and Turkish Cypriot representative at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Oguzhan Hasipoglu.