Erimi, Cyprus, April 29, 2020
Following a police investigation, 20 people, including a priest, will be charged with breaking the lockdown decree for allegedly attending a Church service in Erimi in the southwestern Limassol District on St. George’s Day, April 23.
Police were tipped off that a service was being held at the Church of St. George on its patronal feast day and arrived to find 16 cars parked outside, reports in-cyprus.
However, when the police entered the church, they found only the priest and two members of the public, who were charged that day. Tracing the license plates on the cars outside the church, the police also questioned the others suspected to have been in attendance, although the Erimi community leader, Andreas Aresti, stated that the whole thing was a misunderstanding.
Aresti said he entered the church with the cops to find only two people besides the clergy. Asked about the cars parked outside the church, he explained that people often park there to go picked wild asparagus and mushrooms.
“Is it prohibited to park where they want?” he said.
However, police spokesperson Stelios Stylianou noted that the cops had found the church doors shut and were only able to enter after a few hours.
“The rest [of the people] were either hiding or had escaped,” he said.
The matter is very serious, chief of police Kypros Michaelides said. “We won’t do anyone any favors as our priority is to safeguard public health.”
About 70 people from the village came and asked the police to leave that day, which they did in order to avoid any further tension, reports in-cyprus.
Meanwhile, certain media outlets, such as Cyprus Mail, reported the incident as a “standoff” between police and parishioners who had supposedly holed themselves up in the church.