Paralimni mayor Theodoros Pyrillis has accused a group of bird activists of breaking the law after they had warning shots fired against them during their alleged attempt to enter a private property.
The four activists – said to be two British women and two Italian men – told police that the 50-year-old restaurant owner had fired his hunting shotgun into the air when they attempted to get to what they claim were limesticks (used for illegally trapping songbirds) in a field.
The suspect was later arrested and charged at Paralimni Police Station but a crowd of around 50 people had gathered outside to protest his arrest and the presence of the bird activists from CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter) in their area.
“If the restaurant owner committed a crime, then the police should take action. But this does not allow this group to also break the law,” Pyrillis told state radio.
“If they have information of illegal activity, then they should do what everyone else should do and report it to the police. What gives them the right to enter a private property without permission?”
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He continued: “The man, who had been hunting at the time, had kindly requested for them to leave and they refused. He is now being investigated for firing a warning shot into the air.”
Pyrillis went on to say that the bird activists frequently take matters into their own hands in the area which is why resident are up in arms over their presence.
“They do not have the right to break the law – plain and simple. Using a camera to record people is violation of data protection laws. As a municipality, we had our request to set up CCTV cameras around the town – to monitor areas where there are disturbances, turned down because of these data protection laws. We had to accept this and so do they.”