Police say at least eight arrested in Nicosia protest against government corruption and coronavirus restrictions.
Police in Cyprus have fired tear gas and used water cannon in rare skirmishes with protesters rallying against corruption and restrictions imposed over the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of protesters on Saturday gathered at a park in central Nicosia where they were surrounded by dozens of police officers in riot gear.
Several groups including left-wing and anti-fascist activists and trade unions had used social media to call for the protest in the capital, citing “state authoritarianism” and corruption – notably over a controversial “golden passport” scheme that was scrapped last year after an investigation by Al Jazeera implicated high-ranking officials in passport sales.
Organisers and protesters also voiced anger over the government’s response to the pandemic, which has battered the Cypriot economy and triggered stringent lockdown restrictions.
Olivia Patsalou, a 37-year-old who is looking for work, said she was mainly protesting over the passport affair and “extreme” curbs that were making it harder for her to find a job.
She said she had hoped for “a peaceful demonstration to show our dissatisfaction with the government, with how it’s handled every scandal and how it’s handled the coronavirus situation”.