Without exception, all are expected to abide by the rule of law, director of the president’s press office Victoras Papadopoulos said on Monday reacting to escalating incidents in Chlorakas overnight. Police have so far arrested four people, two migrants and two Greek Cypriots, while investigations are underway to locate other perpetrators.

“We will protect our country and our democracy and also fulfil our obligations towards the European union,” Papadopoulos said, speaking on CyBC’s morning programme. Updated police reports revealed a different picture of events than the one reported late on Sunday about the escalation of incidents following a protest by locals against the community’s “ghettoisation”. Following a march by 300 residents and supporters from other communities, which took place in a tense atmosphere under heavy police presence, but ended without incident, participants split into smaller groups which instigated acts of malicious damage against foreigners’ residences and cars. According to police spokesman Christos Andreou, the force has received eight complaints, two from people who were attacked and injured, and six for malicious damage to property. “My parents have been in Cyprus for 17 years, and they never caused a problem, and today you are entering our home and beating us,” Bashar Ibrahim said on social media. He said ‘protesters’ broke into their house and hit them. One of the most serious complaints, Andreou said, concerns a group of Greek Cypriots who damaged the main entrance of an apartment, then attacked and injured a foreigner. Another serious complaint concerns the smashing of windows and damaging of equipment in a restaurant owned by a foreigner, the perpetrators of which have yet to be identified. The third most serious complaint concerns the overturning of a car. The remaining five complaints, Andreou added, concern the hurling of rocks and using wood to cause damage to several vehicles. To deal with and suppress the incidents, the entire Paphos police force and anti-riot unit were called to the scene with further reinforcements sent from Limassol, Larnaca and CID headquarters. The two arrested migrants aged 34 and 21, were detained for disorderly conduct and possession of an offensive weapon, after police investigated a group of eight foreigners causing concern. At around 1.30am on Monday, a 21-year-old Greek Cypriot was arrested for the possession of an offensive weapon. His arrest was preceded by a stop-and-search of the car he was driving where a bat was found, police reported. In addition, police secured a warrant and proceeded to arrest a 32-year-old in connection with the above offences. The incidents started around 8pm, an hour after a march by residents against the community’s “ghettoisation” which ended peacefully, according to Cyprus News Agency. Shortly before midnight, an apartment in the area was in danger of burning down from a fire that started from the balcony from unknown causes. Thanks to the timely intervention of the occupants, the fire was extinguished before it spread. In other earlier incidents, cars sustained extensive damages while one vehicle was overturned and windows were smashed in houses and shops. Police have attributed damages to both Greek Cypriots and Syrians. Police used teargas to disperse groups in an effort to prevent further attacks, while the anti-riot unit was called in. Chief of Police, Stylianos Papatheodorou and a strong police presence remain in the area while CCTV footage is being examined. Asked to address claims that the incidents were a “pogrom” against migrants, planned and carried out by far-right xenophobic elements, Papadopoulos was circumspect, pending clarification of the exact sequence and nature of events following a complete police report. “We will not tolerate violence of any sort from anyone,” he said, adding “the government had acted decisively [with the relocation of migrants] to resolve an anomalous situation.” Akel general secretary Stephanos Stephanou, however, speaking on the same programme did not mince words, unequivocally calling the night’s events an “organised pogrom” and blaming them on the current and previous state’s tolerance of far-right party Elam’s unacceptable racist, fanatical and anti-migration views. Earlier, on Sunday afternoon the 300 residents from Chlorakas and the surrounding areas, as well as party representatives, held a march regarding the migrant issue in the area and the Ayios Nikolaos (St Nicholas Elegant Residences) complex relocation operation. The event, which started at 6pm in the afternoon and ended an hour later, saw protestors shouting slogans for the removal from Chlorakas of all “who live illegally in the territory of the Republic,” while the main theme of the organisers was the “de-ghettoisation of Chlorakas”.