Going to confession: Greek Cypriots invent ways to dodge ban on movement

Greek Cypriots caught without the necessary permission to be out and about are proving inventive with their excuses as they try persuade police officers not to book them.

According to a report by Greek Cypriot daily, Phileleftheros, more than 200 police are on patrol checking pedestrians and cars under a decree that prohibits all unnecessary movement. Those that have signed documents from their employers can go to work, the rest need stay home but can leave the house by exception ‘for a reasonable time’ provided they secure SMS approval or fill in the documentation.

Those caught breaking the decree are booked and will appear in court. Police can either issue an on the spot fine of  €150 of proceed with court action which will carry a penalty of €3000 and/or prison.

In the first two days of the decree, police booked a total of 445 people. Many had not secured the text message reply or have the document. Others did but failed to convince because of where they were when stopped.

For example, a pedestrian was stopped on Santa Rosa avenue in Nicosia on Thursday said he was going to a supermarket in Engomi. Unconvinced, the police officer booked him.

A jogger was caught on Kennedy Avenue in Nicosia. His home address is Prodromos Avenue, he was therefore breaking the requirement that he exercise in the vicinity of his house.

Others said the SMS system was down and they had received no reply, which they assumed meant they could head out.

A number were booked in parks which under the decree are closed.

According to Phileleftheros police have noticed a significant increase in the number of dogs  being walked by their owners, sometimes several times a day.

In one case, a driver who was stopped on the motorway said he had left Latsia and was going to Ayia Napa for confession. Others suddenly remembered they needed to care for their orchards, the paper adds.


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