NICOSIA — A Cyprus court has ordered nine people detained for three days on suspicion of smashing store fronts and hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at police following a rally against a regional lockdown in the coastal town of Limassol.
Police said Sunday that they have also arrested the 31 year-old organizer of the rally on suspicion of inciting others to commit a criminal offense.
The violence took place after around 1,000 people gathered late Saturday in Limassol to protest a strict, 19-day lockdown that bans all non-essential movement of people, shut bars and restaurants and imposes a 8 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew.
Police said the protest was peaceful, but some people began vandalizing nearby stores and attacking police.
Some 23 people were arrested, of which nine — aged 16 to 27 — were detained. They face rioting, vandalism and conspiracy charges. Three others were charged with attacking and obstructing police and were released. Police said all identified demonstrators who violated mask-wearing and social distancing rules will be fined 300 euros ($355).
Health officials say infections in the country’s two southwestern districts jumped from 28% to 70% of the national average in the last six weeks.