Dozens of supporters of the far-right Greek Cypriot National Popular Front (ELAM) tried to walk past the border post in eastern Derinya (Deryneia) and carried out violent protests against the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) for partially opening the abandoned city of Varosha (Maraş).
The protesters threw fireworks toward the Turkish side of the border, causing a blaze in the buffer zone, TRT Haber reported.
Authorities are still trying to extinguish the fire, according to a statement by TRNC police, which added that intensive security measures have been taken by the country.
The organization, which forms the Greek Cypriot wing of Greece’s racist Golden Dawn political party, previously organized separate protests where they shouted anti-Turkish and anti-Turkey slogans in addition to burning a TRNC flag.
A Greek appeals court ruled last week that Golden Dawn is a criminal group.
Founded in 2008, ELAM became a political party in 2011. It is known for its rallies against Turkish Cypriots and migrants. Its first known attack was in 2010. In 2014, ELAM members disrupted an event attended by Mehmet Ali Talat, the former TRNC president.
Four of the group's members were jailed for attacking a Turkish Cypriot band performing at a concert on the south side of the island in 2011. Those convicts were released on Monday, hours before the attack took place at the border crossing.
The TRNC partially reopened the beachfront area of the "ghost town" of Varosha, which had been abandoned for 46 years, in a move welcomed by Turkey and opposed by Greece.
Greece warned that it would join the Greek Cypriot administration in a new push for the bloc to impose sanctions on Turkey.
"Turkey must take a step back. If it does not, the issue will be discussed by EU (European Union) leaders next week," said Greek government spokesperson Stelios Petsas.
Varosha was a famous resort region in Cyprus that boasted a capacity of 10,000 beds across more than 100 hotels but it has been closed since 1974.
That same year, Turkish military forces intervened on the island following a Greek-inspired coup.
The coup was the result of decadeslong interethnic violence and terrorism targeting Turkish Cypriots, who were forced to live in enclaves after Greek Cypriots unilaterally changed the constitution in 1963 and stripped the island's Turks of their political rights.
Varosha is located just north of the "Green Line," which is the present-day border between the two communities and was closed for settlement subsequent to a U.N. decision in 1974.
The city is protected by a 1984 Security Council resolution, stating that the empty town can only be resettled by its original inhabitants.
If the Greek Cypriot administration had accepted the 2004 U.N. Cyprus reunification plan, the Annan Plan, Varosha would now be back under its control with its residents back in their homes.
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