Eleven people will stand trial on Monday, October 3 over their involvement in a protest against state corruption and pandemic restrictions that took place in Nicosia in February 2021.
The eleven have been charged with rioting and breaking COVID-19 measures. They face up to three years in prison.
A statement by the “Assembly for Kolokasi 11,” a group that was created to support the prosecuted and raise funds to help them cover the costs of the trial said:
“We believe that the decision of the Attorney General to prosecute eleven persons who participated at the first Os Dame demonstration on 13/2/21 is an act of political revenge against a big part of the Cypriot society who dared to protest against corruption and authoritarianism, against the migrant concentration camps and against the policy of partition that the government has been following. Immediately after the demonstration and its violent repression, it became clear to the Cypriot society that it was the police and its political superiors who were responsible for the horrific scenes that everyone witnessed on that day.
“Despite the desperate attempts on behalf of the government and many media outlets to blame the protesters for the violence, the 10,000 people who peacefully marched through the streets of Nicosia on 20/2/2021 gave the best answer to those in power. On behalf of the Assembly for Kolokasi 11, and as people who participated in the protests, we stand in solidarity with the 11 persons prosecuted and we demand their immediate absolvement. A potential continuation of the unjust prosecution of the Kolokasi 11 will be seen as an act of hostility against all of us.”
The protest, which took place on February 13, 2021, was marred by police brutality. Several citizens were injured, while a 25-year-old woman underwent emergency eye surgery after she was hit in the face by a police water cannon.
The incidents sparked a follow-up demonstration, one week later, with thousands of people joining in to protest police violence and corruption.
Two riot police officers are facing charges of using excessive violence during the protest.
The criminal responsibilities of the police were decided after the Law Office of the Republic evaluated a report submitted by the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints Against the Police (IAIACAP).