Cretans to picket NATO base over plan for Syria chemicals

A number of citizen groups and labor unions on Crete have decided to try to form a blockade around the NATO base in Souda Bay later this month to protest plans to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons in the sea south of the island.

Representatives met on Wednesday and opted to picket the naval base by land and sea between July 19 and 21. The protesters called on fishermen and anyone else who has a boat to help.

Cretans are also due to travel to Athens for a protest on Friday. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is overseeing the destruction of some 600 tons of chemicals including mustard gas and the raw materials for sarin nerve gas. The toxic substances were loaded on the Cape Ray container ship at the Italian port of Gioia Tauro on July 2, according to the US Defense Department. The ship has systems that can carry out the process of hydrolysis, converting the chemicals into less dangerous substances. The process is expected to take about 60 days. The ship’s precise course is not known. Protesters said they will try to approach the Cape Ray by boat when it arrives in the area.

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