Chios to oppose police ban on firework ‘war’ custom
Municipal officials on the eastern Aegean island of Chios yesterday said that they plan to defy a ban by police on an Easter custom that has been deemed dangerous by authorities. The custom of “rocket wars,” an exchange of thousands of fireworks and flares between the resident of two parishes in the village of Vrontano on the night of Holy Saturday, dates back to the Turkish occupation and has only been banned twice since: during the World War II Nazi occupation and during the 1967-73 dictatorship. “The police has no choice but to uphold the law,” a high-ranking officer told the ANA-MPA news agency yesterday. The officer added that the police received numerous complaints after last year’s event from citizens who felt physically threatened by the dangerous exchange of projectiles. However, an unnamed municipal official was quoted by ANA-MPA as saying that “the rockets will fly on Saturday night,” echoing Chios Mayor Manolis Vournous, who said he plans to defend the custom.