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Scores Of American And British Sailors In Drunken Rampage

October 12, 1989

LISBON, Portugal (AP) _ About 500 U.S. and British sailors on shore leave went on a drunken rampage in downtown Lisbon, brawling, smashing windows of shops and bars and attacking cars, police said.

More than 100 U.S. and British sailors were arrested by Lisbon police during Wednesday night’s disturbances and at least seven people were injured, a duty officer at Lisbon Public Security police said.

Authorities bolstered dockside patrols today to prevent further clashes, said the officer, Paulino Cardoso.

Cardoso said without elaboration that the rampage began after four U.S. sailors got into a fistfight.

British sailors from the carrier Ark Royal joined in, as did more Americans from the tank landing ship Barnstable County, the amphibious transport docks ship Shreveport and the amphibious assault ship Nassau.

The U.S. ships were berthed in Lisbon during a break from NATO exercises off the Portuguese coast. The Ark Royal was on a five-day courtesy visit.

Cardoso said most of the arrested sailors were returned to their ships after their officers gave assurances there would be no further disturbances, though three were still be held for questioning.

Seven people were injured in the fighting, including four police officers as the brawlers descended on the dockside police station, Cardoso said. One police officer underwent surgery after his nose was broken in the brawling.

Lisbon police intervened to break up the fight but the violence escalated, with rampaging sailors smashing the windows of shops and bars and attacking parked cars in the dockside Cais do Sodre quarter and the Chiado shopping district, he said.

Cardoso said bar owners did not want to press charges against the sailors, who are regular visitors to the seedy area.

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