07/28/2006, 00.00
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
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Booze in soft drink bottles on sale in Dubai

Residents complain of the racket caused by drinkers, especially young people.

Dubai (AsiaNews) – Alcohol is being sold in soft drink bottles under the counter by vendors in residential areas in Dubai, a Muslim but otherwise laidback emirate, and the illegal trade has resulted in an increase in drunkenness among youth, this according to Gulf Today.

Many residents have told the paper that people, especially women in the residential areas of Deira and Bur Dubai, are scared to go out at night because of the rowdy scenes by groups of people sitting and drinking in isolated street corners.

"They always park the car in different places so as to avoid being caught," a source told the newspaper.

"This is a Muslim country and the sale and consuming of alcohol in a public place cannot be accepted," one police official said.

He explained that two weeks earlier the police raided a flat in Deira rounding up a number of people drinking, most of whom, it turned out, did not have the right papers to stay in the country.

Other people living near the Al-Khail Road also complained that drunken labourers occasionally gather at a nearby construction site. "Sometimes they quarrel and get violent; at other times, they guffaw and sing loudly late into the night disturbing the peace," said the source.

Many residents said that this did not happen only in their neighbourhood but in other areas as well.

For many of them, the fault lies with the "easy availability of alcohol at cheap prices [which] encourages these people to sit and drink together in the street. Most [. . .] fill the alcohol in soft drink bottles and drink in the street pretending to sip soft drinks. Even police patrols passing by will not know that they are drinking alcohol".

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