Cyprus Problem | South’s President Sacks Police Chief

Cyprus Problem | South's President Sacks Police ChiefCyprus Problem – South’s President Sacks Police Chief

South Cyprus’s president, Nicos Anastasiades, fired the south’s police chief, accusing him of incompetence after supporters of ELAM, a far-right Greek Cypriot group allegedly affiliated to the Golden Dawn party of Greece, disrupted an event involving TRNC’s ex-president Mehmet Ali Talat. One person was slightly injured when about 100 protesters holding Greek flags entered the building hosting the event in Limassol. Three people were arrested.

Anastasiades informed the police chief, Michalis Papageorgiou, in a letter that the incident was the latest in a series of security lapses and his role was to be immediately terminated. Police were also blamed for errors during anti-privatization protests in February, when demonstrators attempted to storm parliament. He criticised the ELAM group, saying that:

“The state will not tolerate any form of fascist behaviour, from anyone and whomever, not least from an overwhelmingly small minority proclaiming themselves the so-called protectors of Cypriot Hellenism.”

Suport for ELAM is weak, they polled 1% in 2011 parliamentary elections and even less in the 2013 presidential elections. While there was widespread condemnation of ELAM’s actions some people criticised the president’s decision to sack the police chief. However AKEL’s general-secretary, Andros Kyprianou, said that after providing police with photographs of ELAM members participating in combat exercises at a mountain camp nothing was done.

“In a recent letter I received from the Attorney-general’s office, I was notified that ELAM members would not be prosecuted because the legal services claim they (ELAM) didn’t know they were breaking any laws at the time…He even recently denied the existence of organised right-wing factions in Cyprus. As for the even in question, despite knowing about the event itself a week before, no preventive measures were taken. If they assigned responsibilities to the chief of police, because he knew and did not act, then how come there are no responsibilities assigned to the minister of justice, given that his ministry was informed and had also not acted.”

You have to wonder who will replace the sacked police chief and what s/he will do about ELAM. Is this just an knee jerk action of an embarrassed president or does he seriously want to challenge such groups and prevent further incidents?

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