On Saturday July 19, residents, unionists and members of environmental organizations blocked the road to the NATO naval base in Souda Bay, Crete, protesting against the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons in the Mediterranean Sea. The blockade is expected to last for three days.
The mobilization began on Saturday morning with 250 people gathering at the Municipal Market of Chania and then blocking the road to the NATO base, while on Sunday evening, protesters marched to the base. The protesters have organized speeches and concerts, and posted banners against the chemicals’ destruction in the area.
Michalis Kritsotakis, Andreas Xanthos and Georgios Stathakis, members of the opposition party SYRIZA, stood by the side of the protesters and expressed their solidarity.
“We believe that this experiment entails tremendous dangers for the marine environment and the economic model of the Mediterranean shoreline. Imagine what impact a chemical leak in the sea or air would have for the Mediterranean,” noted Sfakia Mayor Pavlos Pollakis.
It is estimated that 520 tons of chemical weapons will be destroyed in the Mediterranean between Italy, Malta and Greece.
The Syrian chemical arsenal, which includes sarin nerve gas and mustard gas, was transferred from the Danish vessel Ark Futura to the American vessel Cape Ray where the chemicals will be destroyed. According to the Pentagon, the chemicals will be neutralized inside the Cape Ray using the method of hydrolysis within the next two months, while the hazardous byproducts will be transferred to special establishments in Germany and Finland for further processing.
So far, 15% of the chemicals on board the Cape Ray have been destroyed.