Residents of Chania on the island of Crete took to the streets demanding proper behavior by foreign visitors including NATO forces and US Navy soldiers and their punishment. The protest protest took place after an incident on Sunday, where a group of drunken US sailors from the USS aircraft carrier “Harry Truman” barged into a hotel room where a 14-year-old was alone, laid on the beds and refused to go.
“We express our anger at the incident and we fully support the girl that has faced horror and anxiety about her life and her physical integrity,” the Teacher’s Association of Therissos Music School that the girl attends said in a statement.
The School’s Parents Association expressed a serious concern and stressed that all children must feel safe at school, at home, on the street and elsewhere.
“We cannot imagine what would have happened if her family had not intervened immediately or if she herself had not shown composure. But we demand the exemplary punishment of illegal intruders,” the Parents Association added.
According to local media reports, the girl is temporarily leaving in the hotel together with her brother and her father who had come to Crete from Athens in order to visit his children in the context of custody terms.
The girl’s father told media that he received a call from his daughter saying that she had locked herself in the bathroom in fright after the group refused to leave the room.
“She was sobbing. She said: ‘Dad come, there’s some foreigners in the room. I’m speaking to them in English, but they won’t go away; they’re lying down on the bed’,” the father was quoted as saying.
The man, who had traveled to Crete from Athens to take custody of his children, said that the girl had chosen to stay in the room while he went out on a walk with his son.
The woman and one of the three men reportedly ran away when the girl’s father appeared with the hotel manager and the police, while the other two sailors were taken to the local police station for questioning.
They were detained for a few hours but then were set free on Monday morning and were not taken to prosecutor and to trial although the girl’s father has sued them, Chaniotika Nea reported. The girl’s parents and their lawyer condemned the lack of punishment.
The Parents Association of another school said that they have been receiving a lot of complaints by students in recent days who say that they are afraid to move in the city of Chania at night for fear of US sailors who behave rude and arrogant.
The Association “condemned the impunity that the Americans have been enjoying in our city for a long time, after a series of incidents of violence that they cause every time the aircraft carrier dock.”
Reactions came also by the local branches of the country’s opposition parties.
“If the leadership of the American base cannot guarantee the smooth stay of its personnel in the city, it is good that it does not allow them to leave the base -at least without any supervision,” SYRIZA commented.
Communist party KKE filed a protest action to the minister s of Justice and Citizen’s Protection describing the incident as “unacceptable” and criticizing the attitude of the authorities and the favorable treatment of the perpetrators.”
MeRA25 spoke of “provocative indifference on the side of institutions and bodies of the city, who for the sake of temporary economic benefit they accept to turn our island and our city into a NATO Inn.”
The incident was condemned by several institutions including the Association of Employees in Private Education, the construction Workers Association, the Food Association, the Association of Private Sector Employees of Chania, the Association of Women of the prefecture of Chania as well as students organizations, among them from the Technical University of Crete and other institutions of the higher education.