Police are drafting an action plan for Saturday’s planned anti-corruption protests in Nicosia and Limassol under the shadow of strong criticism over excessive force they used against activists last week.
They are also sending the message that trouble makers will try to infiltrate the intended peaceful protests to spark a riot, Philenews reported on Friday.
In the meantime, the Independent Authority for the Investigation of Allegations and Complaints against the Police has appointed a four-member committee to investigate the complaints. Their report should be ready within three months.
Police fear Saturday’s protests in old Nicosia and in Limassol will again be marred by violence because of the trouble makers.
They have also repeated that last week’s clampdown which sparked widespread condemnation was not planned but rather the outcome of a riot.
At the same time, Opposition parties demand the immediate lifting of the ban on mass gatherings arguing this is ant-democratic and violates basic human rights.
The ban is part of covid-19 preventive measures, but activists whose intentions are peaceful argue that they can protect themselves without the help of batons and water cannons.
Last Saturday, several hundred people protested against corruption and restrictions on movement and businesses imposed by authorities to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
With public gatherings banned, police moved to break up the demonstration, kittling demonstrators and deploying water cannon and teargas.
Several people were injured, including a 25-year-old woman who was hit by a volley of water as she held her arms up and danced in the street. She underwent emergency surgery on Monday to save her eyesight.
The violence triggered outrage across the political spectrum and calls for the justice minister, who herself described the scenes as disproportionate, to resign.
Emily Yiolitis is under strong criticism over the way she handled a personal attack on a parody twitter account as well.
She is accused of violating human rights with the help of police which is under her jurisdiction.
Activists argue that for the past year – as Cyprus has been going in and out of lockdown – corruption has sky-rocketed and human rights and liberties have been severely curtailed.