Rising Violence Against Immigrants Sparks Concern in Cyprus

Spread the love

A Climate of Fear

Amidst a surge in violence against immigrants in Cyprus, concerns are mounting about the emergence of a hostile environment for foreign residents. Early in September, rumors of an anti-immigrant demonstration circulated in Limassol, leading Egyptian restaurant owners to secure their establishments, and Vietnamese vendors to hastily clear their vegetable stalls. Masked individuals, reportedly numbering in the hundreds and wielding Molotov cocktails, targeted foreign-owned businesses in the coastal town, instilling a climate of fear.

Suspicions of Far-Right Involvement

Observers have speculated that beneath the masks were members of the far-right Elam party, an organization originally spawned from the now-banned Greek neo-Nazi entity, Golden Dawn. Elam has garnered considerable support due to its vehemently anti-immigration stance, with its leader, Christos Christou, securing 6% of the vote and ranking fourth in a February presidential election. However, Elam has vehemently denied any involvement in the violence.

Fear and Violence

Mohammed el-Basaraty, a 38-year-old Egyptian restaurateur, shared his harrowing experience of hiding in the back of his restaurant as the demonstrators descended on Limassol. He vividly described the “sound of breaking glass” and the acrid “smell of smoke” that accompanied the attack on his business. The rising violence against immigrants in Cyprus is taking place against a backdrop of claims that asylum seekers now constitute over 5% of the southern part’s 915,000 residents.

Slow Response and Hate Speech

A few days prior to the Limassol incident, Cypriot police arrested 21 individuals following clashes between Cypriots and migrants in the southern resort of Paphos. These clashes occurred as authorities commenced evictions of Syrians squatting in an apartment complex. Videos shared on social media depicted individuals armed with crowbars shouting “out, out” in the streets.

Xenophobia and a Loss of Security

Foreign residents in Limassol expressed concerns about their safety, given the scale of the unrest and what they perceive as an inadequate police response. Giorgos Charalambous, a professor specializing in European party politics, suggested that smaller far-right groups in Cyprus may also be contributing to the trouble. Hate speech, he believes, has become normalized across the political spectrum. Corina Drousitiou, coordinator of the Cyprus Refugee Council, pointed to the inadequate measures taken by authorities and noted that anti-migrant sentiment has surged.

Despite officials’ denial of racist rhetoric, some residents feel a sense of insecurity has grown, and the violence has left a lasting impact on the lives of immigrants who fled war or economic hardship to settle in Cyprus. These immigrants, who contribute to the island’s prosperity through their economic activities, now face increasing challenges in a climate of heightened tension.

SOURCE: Ref Image from euro news

Views:1021 2
Website | + posts

Whether writing about complex technical topics or breaking news stories, my writing is always clear, concise, and engaging. My dedication to my craft and passion for storytelling have earned me a reputation as a highly respected article writer.

Spread the love