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Page last updated at 18:12 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2003 19:12 UK

The mood in Faliraki

By Jon Stewart
BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat in Faliraki

The convictions of three Britons in the resort of Faliraki for indecent behaviour show how impatient the Greek police are getting with what they see as drunken, inappropriate conduct - but has it affected the spirits of holidaymakers?

"Bar Street" and "Club Street" are both crowded with people once the sun goes down.

Police car in Faliraki
The police presence has increased
Music with competing, pounding basslines pumps out from each establishment - a favourite saying among tour reps is "you don't walk down Bar Street, you vibrate".

UK papers are sold in Faliraki, and most of the bars show British satellite TV, so tourists are aware of the convictions.

The police presence is more visible too - they patrol in cars every half an hour or so.

A strict closing time of midnight is enforced in the bars - all the music shuts off and everyone moves on to the clubs which stay open until 4am, but with closed doors.

A picture of Jemma-Anne Gunning, who was fined after what was dubbed a "European Thong Contest" is on the front of a tabloid bought by Christina and her friend Donna, who are on holiday from Glasgow.

Nothing I've seen is as bad as I thought it would be from the press back home
Christina
British holidaymaker
"I've heard the stories, but I've not seen or been involved in any trouble," says Christina.

"The police are stricter, and they've stopped bar crawls so we couldn't go on ours. The night had to been cancelled.

"But nothing I've seen is as bad as I thought it would be from the press back home."

They insist it hasn't ruined their holiday.

But for Simon, from Lincoln, and his friends, it's made them more wary.

"Every night we have a conversation about it," he says.

"It's eyes down or forward, and you don't look at the police, because you don't know what will happen if they come over to you."

Blame

Faliraki's Mayor Yiannis Iatridis is one of the key figures behind the clampdown and blames tour companies for selling holidays based purely on the offer of sun, sex, and a lot of alcohol.

He thinks the reputation of the whole of the island of Rhodes could suffer.

Thursday is traditionally the first big night out for young tourists, as most flights land late on Wednesdays.

Faliraki
Faliraki is popular with young British tourists
Holiday reps would normally have arranged a bar crawl in which 50 or so holidaymakers dressed in identical T-shirts would have been escorted through the town.

Reps say it's a good way of introducing people to each other, and showing them the best places to go.

But bar crawls have been banned, because the mayor sees them as one of the major problems in encouraging excessive drinking.

Last week, several reps were arrested and cleared after being accused of organising an illegal one.

They're being very cautious now, and are trying to rearrange their activity programmes to fill the gap left in this evening's entertainment.



SEE ALSO
Arrested reps keep their jobs
19 Aug 03 |  West Midlands
Life in Faliraki
19 Aug 03 |  Magazine

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