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Group Opposed to 5G Networks Targets Cyprus' Mobile Antennas

Αssociated Press

In this Tuesday, April 14, 2020 photo, a view of a cell tower after a fire, in Dagenham, England. Dozens of European cell towers have been destroyed in recent arson attacks that officials and wireless companies say are fueled by groundless conspiracy theories linking new 5G mobile networks and the coronavirus pandemic. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

NICOSIA — A small group of people who oppose 5G mobile telephone technology is likely responsible for arson attacks against four mobile telephone antenna installations in Cyprus' coastal town of Limassol, a Cypriot police official said on Friday.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou told The Associated Press that law enforcement authorities have agreed with telecommunication service providers to step up security measures around antenna installations including stronger fencing and more frequent police patrols.

A statement issued by state-owned Cyprus Telecommunications Authority said that authorities are "greatly troubled" over the overnight arson attacks against antennas in three different parts of the city this week.

Some of the damaged antennas also belong to the telecom authority's mobile telephone competitors. Damage to one installation hampers mobile phone connections in the area for weeks until repairs are completed, the authority said.

Cyprus currently has no 5G network installed. 

The latest attacks come on top of three earlier arson attempts against older mobile telephone antennas in Limassol during Cyprus' coronavirus lockdown, which was enacted in March. 

A small, but vociferous online campaign against 5G alleges in social media posts that emissions from the network's antennas pose a serious health risk and may be linked to the spread of COVID-19 by weakening the human immune system.

The earlier incidents compelled Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades to issue a statement in April dismissing what he called "groundless" fears that 5G poses any kind of danger to public health or safety. 

Andreou said that police have opened 22 cases against individuals for inciting others online to damage mobile telephone antennas.