Anger, reflection and confirmation of the fact that the country essentially lives in the shadow of the hooligans' appetites, prevails after yesterday's very serious incidents that unfolded in the area of the hiding place of Georgios Grivas Digenis, in Agios Nikolaos in Limassol, during the memorial service of the leader of EOKA.
This time the organized groups of hooligans, left the stadiums and found suitable ground to indulge in wild episodes during the memorial service and while the loudspeakers that were set up, the voice of the former Chief of the National Guard, Ilias Leontaris, was heard, who delivered the required tribute to the Chief of EOKA.
The incidents started when the organized fans of APOEL entered the hiding place coordinated from the entrance and found in front of them the organized fans of Apollon, who were already at the scene. The hand-to-hand fights turned in a few minutes into stone wars and street fights, on Georgiou Griva Digeni avenue, while then sticks, firecrackers, flares, smoke bombs and bats came out, with the fans clashing and causing damage. < /p>
They knew but incomplete measures
The meager police force, compared to the number of fans, (p.s. The police speak of 80 police officers, however the images from the area when the incidents started, show only 15 to 20 police officers) that were at the scene, attempted to intervene and stop the two groups of fans, but without any substantial result, since the fighting continued for more than an hour, causing several injuries, as well as damage to vehicles that were parked on the avenue.
And this is where a serious question arises about the way the Police once again approached a dangerous mission, in this case, the memorial service of the Chief of EOKA. Since the beginning of January, the Associations of Fighters of EOKA, had warned about information that reached their ears, regarding provocations and incidents that some were preparing. In fact, they had reported that in addition to the incidents on the day of the memorial service, they also had information about damage to the surrounding area.
The Associations of Fighters, in this context of the information they received, called on the Police to take serious measures to prevent any of this. Not many days passed and only about two weeks ago, on January 11, known unknowns attacked with stones and paints, writing slogans on the Digenis Association which is located at a distance of 50 meters from the hideout. Yesterday the episodes followed.
As a result, the warnings of the Athletes' Associations are 100% confirmed and the Police in both the first and second incidents are almost absent and at the tail end of the developments. And it is possible that the Associations did not talk about incidents, theoretically between like-minded people, since both the fans of Apollo and the fans of APOEL were at the venue, to honor Grivas Digenis. Instead, with his actions, they not only did not honor, but tarnished his memory with their behavior. >Returning back to the responsibilities, beyond the social aspect, which concerns the problem of youth education and the actions of hooligans, once again, the responsibilities of the authorities are relentless. In addition to the public, indeed, warning they received, there is another element that should raise the alarm to the Police.
Not many months have passed – just three – since the serious incidents between the fans of the two specific teams, Apollon and APOEL, at the Tsirio Stadium, where once again the known unknowns invaded the stadium, turning it into a ring. In itself the antagonism that has developed between the two organized links, which was reflected in the clearest way in their announcements in the past period, combined with the warnings of the last weeks, creates huge question marks for the evaluation and assessment of the risk that it was done by the Police.
And the responsibility does not fall on the backs of police officers who were yesterday in Agios Nikolaos, who undoubtedly put themselves in danger to prevent the worst and indeed some of them were injured, but on the backs of their superiors and the leadership, from whom they received instructions and had drawn up a plan of action , however once again, they seem to have misjudged the level of risk.
How is it possible to know that there is information about incidents and send a number of Police who could not deal with the numerous groups of organized ? at the same time you knew the singularity of yesterday's situation, where more than half were elderly people and tear gas could not be used in reality?
How is it possible that the number of the force was such, when you knew that organized fan groups would be found at the scene?
On the basis of what plan, the organized Apollos were allowed to stood near the entrance of the hideout, at the time you knew that the organized APOEL would arrive at the site late and therefore, it was only a matter of time before they met face to face?
Even at the end, when the APOEL organizers passed by the Police platoon, why were they not blocked, so that they would not enter the area, before the area where they would end up was secured, in order to avoid the worst?
Why, while the antagonism between the two organized groups was known in recent months, after the events in Tsireio, was there no re-evaluation of the situation to send strong anti-riot teams to the scene and ensure the safety of those present?  ;
Because in similar situations that were not as serious as a result, even Aiantas, drones and armored policemen were used, in this case, given that after the return of organized teams to the stadiums, hooliganism is on the rise, wasn't it deemed necessary to enlist?
How do the authorities justify the fact that after it took about two hours for the hooligans to leave the area, they did so on their own, only when they wanted to and without any arrests being made?  ?
The fact that altered photos were subsequently released late yesterday afternoon says absolutely nothing. Besides, as is often the case in Cyprus, the fact that very strict security measures will be taken at the memorial next year also does not say anything.
The Talat episodes that terminated the then Chief /p>
However, the events that happened yesterday in Agios Nikolaos reminded many of the events that also happened in Limassol, during the presence of Mehmet Ali Talat at the Rialto theater. Then, within 24 hours, the Chief of Police woke up, who had stated that he was sleeping at the time, while even then the Police had information about incidents, which in the end they did not prevent.
Yesterday in Limassol, it turned out that the entire leadership of the Police at the Pan-Cypriot and local level was caught asleep, since while fears had been expressed, they sent a few dozen policemen to deal with hundreds of hooligans. And all this at a time when there were warnings and all those elements that defined the situation as extremely dangerous to derail.
The question is whether, just two weeks before the elections, is anyone willing, for for the first time to assume the responsibilities assigned to him and for there to be consequences for those who, with their passivity, allowed the hooligans to act unmolested. The hooligans who, anyway, are the root of the problem and without the decisive intervention of the state will take root even deeper.
And all this while from the day of the return of the organized considering that since the day of the return of the organized, there have been successive incidents of violence inside and outside the stadiums, with the Police always running behind the developments. It is for this that at some point, everyone, after recognizing that things are going in the wrong direction, should reflect on their share of the responsibilities, assuming their responsibilities.