Limassol police arrested 18 youths, 16 of them underage, for lighting bonfires near churches. They were charged in the presence of their parents and released.
The first four — a 15 year old, two 17 year olds and a 19 year old, were picked up at 10.15 pm by police near a bonfire in the courtyard of a Germasoyia church.
A little after midnight, as part of the same police operation against juvenile delinquency, police found 14 young people near a bonfire outside a Zakaki church. Three are aged 16, seven are aged 17 and three are 18.
They too were arrested, charged and released.
Police have stepped up patrols in the run-up to Easter, targeting particularly firecrackers.
The Orthodox Easter bonfires (lampratzia) or Burning of Judas is a ritual where an effigy of Judas is burned on the night of Easter Saturday.
But in some neighbourhoods it has turned into a competition among rival groups of young people seeking bragging rights on who can build the biggest bonfire, in some cases resorting to stealing wood from building sites and other locations in order to do so.