Cyprus police arrest 21 after anti-immigrant violence

NICOSIA (Reuters): Cyprus police arrested 21 people late Monday after violent clashes involving immigrants and residents of a community in the west of the island which has a large population of asylum-seekers.

Police said those arrested after a second night of disturbances in the village of Chlorakas, some 155 km west of the capital Nicosia, included migrants and locals.

Monday night’s incidents followed a peaceful sit-down protest by migrants against violence late on Sunday, where people wearing hoods damaged a property and vehicles belonging to non-Cypriots.

Tension boiled over after the protest broke up, with groups of migrants and Greek Cypriots kept apart by police using teargas and water cannon. One police officer was lightly hurt by a petrol bomb.

Cyprus had seen a spike in the arrival of irregular migrants and people seeking asylum in recent years, though the rate of increase has tapered off this year. About 20 percent of the migrant community in Chlorakas comes from Syria.

Tensions have been running high in Chlorakas for several years over what some locals believe is a disproportionately high number of asylum seekers or recognized refugees settled there.

The island’s interior ministry declared the community off-limits to new arrivals in 2021, and last week authorities said they would vacate a property complex where hundreds of migrants lived without electricity and running water.

Sunday’s disturbances were preceded by a demonstration of around 300 people who marched through a central street in Chlorakas, calling for an end to irregular migration. Several participants then broke off from the main body of demonstrators and damaged property, police said.

Three dead after FSB helicopter crash in Russia

MOSCOW An FSB security services helicopter crashed Tuesday in central Russia leaving three people dead, regional officials said.

The MI-8 helicopter went down near the village of Krasnoe Pole in the Chelyabinsk region, the governor said without indicating a cause for the incident.

“According to preliminary information, three people died,” governor Aleksei Teksler said on social media.

There was no damage to buildings or individuals on the ground, he added in the statement linking the aircraft to the FSB.

Aviation accidents are common in Russia due to lax safety rules and poor maintenance, and have become even more frequent after Moscow sent troops to Ukraine last year.