Cyprus arrests 21 in anti-migrant violence
Cyprus police said yesterday they have arrested 21 people after violent clashes between Cypriots and migrants near the resort city of Paphos, where authorities have started removing Syrians from a condemned apartment complex.
There has long been friction between asylum-seekers and residents of Chlorakas town.
Tensions flared on Sunday, police said, when a protest against the migrants escalated into splinter groups vandalising and damaging property belonging to the foreign residents, in racially motivated attacks.
European Union member Cyprus argues it is a "frontline country" on the Mediterranean migrant route. Last year, according to EU data, it had the highest number of first-time asylum applications relative to population in the 27-member bloc.
Video footage on social media showed a group of Greek Cypriots chanting "get out, get out" during the demonstration. It turned violent, police say, when the Greek Cypriots came face-to-face with a group of Syrian migrants.
The violence continued on Monday evening after around 500 Syrians held a peaceful counter-protest, according to police, who said they used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the Greek Cypriots and migrants.