PARALIMNI - Police were called to the Paralimni polling station on Saturday morning following an incident in which voting slips were snatched and then tossed into the road.
According to Disy MP Lefteris Christoforou, the incident took place during the vote for the ruling party's new vice president. Witnesses described seeing a group of men enter the premises, take the ballot boxes and empty the contents into the road just outside the station. According to police, a group of residents had assembled at the station in protest over what they say were bird activists entering and then destroying some of their property without the consent of the police.
Garden bird (ambelopoulia) is a controversial dish of grilled, pickled or boiled songbirds which is a traditional dish enjoyed by native Cypriots and served in some Cypriot restaurants. It is illegal in Cyprus as it involves trapping wild birds such as Blackcaps and European Robins. Trapping kills birds indiscriminately, thus internationally protected species of migratory birds are killed as well.
Clampdowns by police have intensified since 2010 following pressure form the European Union. An estimated 2,418,000 birds across the whole of Cyprus are estimated to have been killed during 2010.
According to BirdLife Cyprus, poaching for ambelopoulia has been on the rise in recent years involving by 2011 a “mafia-like operation” that include poachers, dealers, exporters, and restaurant operators that participate in the illegal business estimated to be worth about €5m. Unsuspecting diners my be served much cheaper farmed birds such as immature quails by some restaurants.