28 March 2014 18:23

President Anastasiades fired the police chief yesterday after extremists attacked a former Turkish Cypriot leader, triggering an angry response just days before a new round of peace talks.
Around 100 members of the extreme right-wing National People's Front (Elam) tried Wednesday night to disrupt a meeting in Limassol at which former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat was a guest speaker.
Elam is a fringe party that was founded in 2008 based on a radically anti-Turkish and anti-immigrant agenda.
Police said they arrested three people as some Elam members tried to force their way into the building, smashing a glass door, and that more arrests were planned. The trio were charged and released while a fourth arrest was made yesterday.
The event, also attended by US Ambassador John Koenig, went ahead and Talat gave a speech on the prospects of a reunified Cyprus.
Anastasiades said he had sacked police chief Michalis Papageorgiou over Wednesday night's "unacceptable events" after "reviewing the facts... and taking into account previous oversights".
Papageorgiou and Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou took pot shots at each other over who was to blame for insufficient security at the venue.
Anastasiades instructed the justice minister and attorney general to investigate a complaint by a Turkish Cypriot journalist who was injured during the incident and had his camera stolen.
"I want to make clear that the state will not accept any form of fascist behaviour, wherever it comes, especially a minority that declares itself as the alleged protector of the Greeks of Cyprus," Anastasiades said.
"What I demand is the immediate prosecution of those who were involved in illegal behaviour in trying to abort this event.”
Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said "it is worrying that such violent incidents are taking place at a time when the negotiation process has reached a critical point".
Papageorgiou said he didn’t deserve the sack and accused the Justice Minister of meddling in police affairs and undermining his authority in the past.
Nicolaou responded saying the allegation were ‘unfounded’ as the police chief was trying to divert attention from a failure to do his duty.


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