In Pictures: Protest in Cyprus draws water cannon, arrests
Police in Nicosia use water cannon, tear gas to disperse protesters rallying against corruption and COVID response.
Police in Cyprus have used water cannon and tear gas to break up a protest against corruption and lockdown measures imposed over the COVID-19 pandemic, witnesses said.
Several hundred people had gathered to protest on Saturday just beyond the medieval walls of Nicosia, the capital of the east Mediterranean island.
At least one person who said he was struck on the head by police was taken to hospital.
Cyprus has been rocked by allegations of graft in a lucrative citizenship-for-investment programme, which was abruptly cancelled last November after an Al Jazeera investigation revealed secret footage of a senior state official offering to arrange a passport for a fictitious Chinese investor with a criminal record.
Despite it being halted, the uproar over the scandal-hit scheme has persisted, with comments from opposition politicians, newspaper editorials and Cypriot social media users pointing to endemic corruption.
“Partition and corruption go hand-in-hand,” read one banner held by protesters, referring to the ongoing division of Cyprus. Another said: “It’s Capitalism, Stupid!” with a picture of a Cypriot passport.
Violence at protests in Cyprus is highly unusual.
Authorities had banned the gathering, citing coronavirus restrictions that allow people out twice a day for mainly essential errands.