AYS News Digest 4/9/23: Sustained Racist Violence in Cyprus

Deadliest Med year since 2017 // 20 people trapped on uninhabited Greek island // ECHR condemn Italy’s “inhuman treatment” towards teenager from Ghana // and more...

Are You Syrious?
Are You Syrious?
Published in
4 min readSep 5


Photo Credit: KISA via X


Sustained Racist Violence in Cyprus

Police in Cyrus have made 20 arrests following a weekend of racially motivated violence. Shops were vandalised and street furniture was set on fire after approximately 500 people gathered in a park in the second city of Limassol. 13 people were arrested at the anti-migrant protest, 12 for having attacked people who didn’t look Greek-Cypriot during the protest and the 13th for allegedly organising the event.

This comes shortly after Syrian refugees were the target of cruel and co-ordinated attacks in the district of Chloraka, despite being legal and long term residents. Adults, children and property were targeted in what Statewatch is calling a pogrom.

Monday 28th August saw 21 people arrested as a peaceful protest ended in violence. Sunday 27th August saw a counter-protest against the anti-migrant sentiment. After the sit-in protest, police used teargas and water canons to separate fighting groups, where stones were thrown and cars and rubbish bins were set alight.

These recent troubles started when a building complex where asylum seekers and refugees were staying was evicted. The building where 600 people have been staying, was the subject of an eviction order in November 2020 due to unsafe conditions. Pressure to clear the building has been rising as local residents accused those living there of stealing electricity.

Local NGO KISA, who work for equality and inclusion in Cyprus, condemn the fascist sentiment that has been rising in the country and call for a police investigation into the recent events as well as punishments to be implemented for hate-speech.


Deadliest year since 2017

2023 has been the deadliest year in the Mediterranean since 2017. Rescue vessel Ocean Viking experienced unprecedented numbers of people in need of life-saving assistance during their last mission. After first rescuing over 250 people, they encountered multiple boats on their journey to a safe port.

Eight years ago, the deeply sad sight of the body of 2 year old Alan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach caused waves of emotion. No lessons have been learnt, 300 people have lost their lives in the same sea this year.


“One request; evacuation” — refugees in Libya

Children chant, standing in the scorching sun as refugees from Sudan and elsewhere continue to protest outside the UNHCR office in Tripoli. Women and children have continued to arrive from Sudan as the war there continues unabated.

Meanwhile, the fates of people from Bangladesh are being discussed behind their backs by IOM Libya and the Ambassador of Bangladesh.


20 people trapped on uninhabited island

A group of 20, including an old man with disabilities, is in urgent need of help on the island of Farnakonisi. The island is uninhabited except for a military garrison. The Hellenic Coast Guard has been informed and we add our voice to call for immediate assistance.

As previously covered in this News Digest — the far-right men targeting people-on-the-move in Greece has reached the French press. The article in Les Observateurs includes details about the videos previously shared which show people being detained and beaten by civilians. It points out that these actions have been happening for years but have only recently been documented and shared by the people committing the crimes. The anti-migrant rhetoric has even gone so far as to blame the recent forest fires in the Evros region on people-on-the-move — with no evidence to corroborate this.


ECHR condemn “inhuman treatment” towards teenager from Ghana

Italy has once again been condemned for “inhuman and degrading treatment”. In 2017 a teenager from Ghana sought protection in Italy — she was detained for eight months in a facility for adults. Identified as ‘MA’, the then asylum seeker had reported being a victim of sexual abuse in both her home country and in Libya. The case was finally presented to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg which delivered the decision to award MA 6,000 Euros in compensation and 4,000 Euros for legal costs for failing to meet her rights for psychological support among other things. This isn’t the first time that Italy has been criticised for similar offences — in 2016 another minor was wrongfully detained in an adult facility and received compensation. The full court decision can be read here.


Sindicato Popular de Vendedores Ambulantes (Popular Union of Street Vendors) in Barcelona calls for social policies from the government. A video shows street vendors being mocked and harassed before police step in. The new local government is focusing on tourism and not social projects.

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Are You Syrious?
Are You Syrious?

News digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and people on the move, but also for journalists, decision makers and other parties.