Protesters attack Cypriot TV over Covid measures and vaccines

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Nicosia (AFP)

Protesters against the coronavirus measures and vaccines attacked a Cypriot television station and torched cars outside the building in Nicosia on Sunday evening, the channel said.

Police confirmed the incident on Sigma TV and said around 2,500 protesters took to the network after a larger protest outside the Presidential Palace against a Covid “Safepass” and forced vaccination.

“A cowardly attack took place on Sunday evening outside our headquarters” in the capital Nicosia, Sigma TV said.

“Our headquarters were attacked by mobs who threw crackers and damaged our cars.”

An AFP journalist saw thousands of people in the area near Sigma TV in the capital Nicosia, carrying signs against the “safepass” which came into force earlier this week in the Republic of Cyprus.

Another saw broken glass around the building, several broken windows, and four Sigma-branded cars in various states of damage, including one completely burnt out.

Earlier in the evening, around 5,000 people demonstrated in front of the presidential palace and at the end of the demonstration, about half of them went to the Sigma television building, police said.

A network car was set on fire and the building was damaged, police said. There were no immediate reports of arrests or injuries.

Sigma said police entered the building to protect those working there.

One of its presenters, Nestoras Vasiliou, posted a video on social media showing cars burning in the parking lot and breaking furniture apparently inside the building’s lobby, with police sirens. screaming in the background.

Vasiliou also tweeted “Thank goodness we are all safe”.

Sigma is seen to have a hard-line stance against anti-vaccination campaigners and has been targeted in previous protests against anti-coronavirus measures.

An AFP journalist at the scene later said calm had returned but a group of police were guarding the compound.

The Republic of Cyprus this week introduced a secure pass allowing only people vaccinated against Covid to enter supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants and other businesses.

It has also expanded its Covid vaccination rollout to include adolescents aged 16 and 17, following a further increase in cases, and has stepped up efforts to persuade young people to take the jabs.

Cyprus has recorded more than 90,000 cases of coronavirus and 384 deaths.

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