The citizens' movement demanding free beaches for all is spreading day by day.
The... undeclared war for free public space has brought to light an entire illegal industry that was taking place with the tolerance of the Authorities on the coasts of the country: according to information, levels of the archaeological and land service have already recorded more than 3,000 sq.m. beach encroachment in many areas of Greece, while in some cases the figures revealed are outrageous, such as in Falasarna, Crete, an area protected by the Natura network, where sunbeds cover approximately 80% of the beach.
From Halkidiki to Crete, Rhodes, the Cyclades, and now also Attica, the demand for the liberation of the coasts is growing, while controls have been carried out after Naxos, Paros and Milos in Zakynthos, Corfu, Kefalonia, Syros, in Serifos, Crete and Mykonos, where sunbeds were even in the sea, although they must be five meters from the coastline. At the same time, the arrests of those responsible continue.
In addition to the 16 people arrested in the three-day period 4-6 August, five other arrests were made in Akrata for installing tables and chairs without a permit.
Meanwhile, audits reveal the true extent of the arbitrariness. The Citizens' Initiative "Save Falasarna" talks about "four-wheeled ATVs" that destroy sand dunes, jet skis, umbrella seats on 80% and not 30% of the beach, as defined by Natural Environment & Climate Change Agency (N.E.C.C.A.), and a scandalous rent of 10 euros per square meter at a time plus beach bars and decibels over the permitted limit'.
In addition, the Initiative states that "recently there was a police check all over Falasarna bay and 13 arrests were made because they did not have a license for the umbrella seats they were renting" and points out that "the invitation of the Municipality of Kissamos to the businesses for a simple beach concession was made on the 11 April and the deadline was June 23. The intervention of the Police took place a month later and it was found that no one had a permit, while most of the umbrella seats have been in since May."
Mobilizations in Rhodes
Gatherings and mass protests are taking place every day on islands and coastal areas of Greece. After Potidaia and Nikiti of Halkidiki, mobilizations took place in Rhodes, where yesterday an open meeting was scheduled at the initiative of the Network for the Protection of Public Space "Umbrella", which is a leader in the claim of free beaches for all.
In the Municipality of Nea Propontida in Halkidiki, today expires the deadline for the removal of umbrellas permanently placed by private individuals on beaches. As announced by the Municipal Authority, these objects are characterized by the current legislation as "pollutants", which must be removed from its services. Therefore, the Municipality has warned those who have left umbrellas and sunbeds to collect them by today, otherwise tomorrow the Municipality's crews will proceed with their removal without further notice.
The dimensions of the citizens' struggle for free beaches are expected to bring changes to the law on land use. According to information, the current regime in which the municipalities are responsible for beach permits and their utilization, will change, and from the autumn the responsibilities of the municipalities will be transferred to the State Real Estate Company. The aim is, in this way, to counter the pressures exerted on the matter by local actors.
- Published in Greece