Nine youths have been arrested in connection with three separate attacks against Turkish Cypriots in Nicosia on Monday. All those arrested are high school students.
A Police statement said they are investigating offences related to Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm, causing malicious damage to property, breach of the peace in a public area, disturbance, inciting hatred or violence based on birth origin/nationality or gender identity and offences related to certain forms of racism and xenophobia according to the Criminal Law Act as well as offences related to conspiracy to commit a misdemeanour.
All persons arrested are aged between 16 and 18. It has not been decided yet if they will appear before a court, the statement added.
Demonstrations were held in the capital protesting against the anniversary of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the TRNC.
Reports blamed members of the neo-fascist group ELAM for the attacks. However, ELAM denied any involvement.
Following a meeting of the two community leaders, President Anastasiades announced on Wednesday that his government would compensate the vehicle owners.
The two leaders issued a joint statement condemning “in the strongest terms the shameful incidents …during which Turkish Cypriots were targeted.”
“The leaders stand together against racism and hatred, whatever the source. They jointly affirm that such deplorable acts will be thoroughly investigated and will not go unpunished,” it added.
It also said that Akinci expressed his satisfaction with Anastasiades’ statements that “any damage incurred during these incidents will be remedied”.
“The two leaders will not allow such unacceptable incidents to jeopardise the ongoing negotiations in any way, in particular at the very time they are trying in earnest to find a solution to the Cyprus problem,” it said.
Following the attacks, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said that numerous people have been questioned in connection to the case, and footage from security cameras in the area were being examined in a bid to identify the perpetrators. Due to the seriousness of the situation, the investigation has been taken over by the central criminal investigation department and not area police stations.
“Our effort is to give a clear message to all these people who display such behaviour that similar actions will not be tolerated in the future,” he said.
Update: A total of 15 teenagers were arrested for the attacks against Turkish Cypriots during school demonstrations against the occupation. Nine were charged were charged and released on Thursday.
The remaining six in police custody were likewise expected to be charged and released, police spokesman Andreas Angelides said.
He added CID are continuing their investigation into the incident, and the aim was to get to the bottom of the case so that it can go to court.
SigmaLive, Cyprus Mail