By In-Cyprus (Philenews)
Cyprus’ Police Chief has called for an investigation into complaints of excessive force used by anti-riot police during Saturday’s protest in Nicosia against corruption and lockdown measures imposed over the covid-19 pandemic.
This is what Philenews reported on Sunday, adding that Stelios Papatheodorou has already sent a letter on this issue to the President of the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police.
“An investigation by the Authority will ensure the objective and impartial examination of this matter,” Papatheodorou said in the letter.
Clashes which broke out between police and activists in old Nicosia had led to the arrest of 11 activists and one person who said he was struck on the head by police was taken to hospital.
Police used water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to break up the gathering of several hundred people just beyond the old city’s medieval walls.
The use of violence at protests in Cyprus is highly unusual.
Authorities had banned the gathering, citing restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Those restrictions allow people out twice a day for mainly essential errands.
Cyprus has been rocked by allegations of graft in a lucrative citizenship-for-investment programme, which was abruptly cancelled last November after a senior state official was secretly filmed allegedly offering to arrange a passport for a fictitious Chinese investor with a criminal record.
Despite the scheme being halted, uproar over the scandal-hit scheme has persisted, with comments from opposition politicians, newspaper editorials and from ordinary Cypriots on social media pointing to endemic corruption.
“Partition and corruption go hand-in-hand,” wrote one banner held by protesters, referring to the ongoing division of Cyprus. Another said: “Its Capitalism, Stupid!” with a picture of a Cypriot passport.