By Melissa Hekkers
With two minors in the back of my car, we made our way to Hero’s square in Limassol last weekend, the locale that would frame our Saturday evening as we enjoyed the final screenings of the Cyprus Film Days International festival and its award ceremony.
It was enticing, considering that, with the Street Life Festival, which annually brings colour to buildings all around the old quarters of the town, and with various graffiti artists exposing their art, there was something for all generations to enjoy. Add to this the recent appearance of corn-on-the-cob stalls across the promenade, and we were set.
Yet as I drove us to Limassol, there was an anxiety that had followed me throughout the day that I couldn’t seem to shed. I had read about an incident outside the Cyprus University of Technology the previous night, where a group of hooded men, brandishing baseball clubs and iron bars and throwing stones, had stormed a pro-Federation event, attacking several people.
There had been families present, together with children, youth and middle-aged people, looking to share concerns, ideas and visions with like-minded others.
Meanwhile, a bomb threat at the Limassol courts yesterday morning may have just been a false alarm. But considering two people, who were remanded in police custody by the Limassol District Court in connection with the coordinated attack, were in court yesterday, perhaps there was more to it. Or maybe there wasn’t.
What stands out is that hate crimes are on the rise. And they’re happening right in the heart of our cities, in pedestrianised squares, on the weekend.
So, as we ate our corn on the cob and walked along Saripolou Street, it was one of the rare times I wasn’t confident in my stride. And I couldn’t share my angst with the two nine-year-olds at my side. It was too disturbing to do so.