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Politics

Cypriot Protesters Attack TV Station Over COVID-19 Restrictions

July 19, 2021

As Cyprus continues to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic while trying to lure tourists, demonstrators upset with measures aimed at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus attacked a TV station and burned cars outside.

Police told Agence Franceo-Presse that it happened at the Sigma TV headquarters and involved some 2,500 people who went there after an earlier protest outside the President Palance against a COVID Safepass and any mandatory vaccination ideas.

"A cowardly attack took place on Sunday night (July 18) outside our headquarters" in the capital Nicosia, Sigma TV said. "Our headquarters was attacked by mobs who threw crackers and damaged our cars,” it added.

An AFP reporter saw thousands of people in the area near Sigma TV in the capital Nicosia, carrying placards against the Safepass that has come into force and shows the holder is vaccinated or free of the Coronavirus.

Like other countries, Cyprus has a rabid anti-vaccination sector that doesn't believe they are safe and effective and there are conspiracy theories around the world the shots are aimed at altering people's DNA despite scientific evidence they have worked to slow the pandemic.

There was broken glass around the building, several broken windows and four Sigma-branded cars in various states of damage, one completely burned-out, said the AFP report.

There were some 5,000 people outside the Presidential palace protesting President Nicos Anastasiades' drive to make the island safe from COVID-19 with tighter restrictions they don't want.

A car at the network was set on fire and there was damage to the building, police said. There were no immidiate reports of arrests or injuries and TV officials said officers went inside to protect the workers.

Sigma is seen as having a hardline stance against anti-vaccination campaigners and has been targeted in previous protests against health measures the doubters don't believe are needed.

One of its presenters, Nestoras Vasiliou, published a video on social media showing cars burning in the car park and smashed up furniture apparently inside the building's lobby, with police sirens wailing in the background.

Vasiliou also tweeted that, “Thank God we are all safe".

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