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Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday August 24, 2013 MYT 9:01:22 AM
Drinking on the job? Venetian gondoliers may now be required to take breathalyser tests. — AFP
Gondoliers are tarnishing the image of Venice with their brutish, drunken behaviour.
YOU could call it a case of drinking and paddling. Venetian gondoliers may have to take breathalyser tests after the city received a series of complaints about their unruly, drunken behaviour, including a booze-fuelled incident in which a man stripped naked and jumped into the Grand Canal.
The move is being proposed by the gondoliers association following a hazing incident that was captured on camera and posted on YouTube. It’s since been taken down.
In the video, which was shown to city councillors, an aspiring assistant is told to take off his clothes and jump into the lagoon near St Mark’s Square, reported Italian wire service ANSA.
Outraged councillors called for the immediate suspension of the gondoliers involved, pointing out that they serve as the face of Venice for many international tourists and risk tarnishing the city’s image when displaying brutish, drunken behaviour.
The hazing victim was applying to become a ganser, explains ANSA, a gondolier’s assistant who helps passengers in and out of the gondola.
While he defended the gondoliers saying that no one forced the aspiring ganser to carry out the hazing ritual, Nicola Falconi is proposing that gondoliers and fellow transport operators undergo regular and random drug and alcohol tests.
It’s not the first time gondoliers have faced criticism for their conduct. Earlier this year, an Italian consumer group lambasted dishonest gondoliers who fleece tourists with above-market rates and called for unscrupulous perpetrators to be stripped of their licences.
Paris has also suffered bad rap in recent months, after a group of Chinese tourists were robbed as soon as they arrived, and following a riot that broke out near the Eiffel Tower after the city’s soccer team won the French League championship.
The city has tightened security measures to fight against the rise in pick-pocketing, armed theft and muggings which have tarnished its image on the international stage. – AFP Relaxnews
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