Protests take place on the beaches: the Towel Movement spreads across the popular country

A wave of protests against lawlessness – the illegal seizure of coastal territories – swept popular Greece, attracting the attention of local residents and foreign tourists. Launched on the island of Paros, the “Towel Movement” calls for the “cleansing” of public beaches occupied by greedy owners of beach bars and cafes, Greek media reported.

The problem of illegal possession of beaches in Greece has reached such a scale that social activists have taken to the streets to support the fight to maintain access to the municipal waterfront. As the activists noted, their main protest is related to the attempts of catering outlets to seize the coastlines and force them with sun loungers and umbrellas in order to get the maximum profit from vacationers. However, according to Greek law, private beaches are illegal. Until recently, tourists put up with the state of affairs and settled down on patches of beaches next to sun loungers. However, patience has come to an end.

“We were faced with lawlessness, which turned out to be the topic of mass protests,” one of the activists emphasized, speaking at a rally on the island of Paros. The Towel Movement seeks to return beaches to society by limiting the impact of businesses on public space.

The activist initiative has begun to bear fruit. The “towel movement”, which arose in June on the island of Rhodes, quickly spread to the island of Paros, and then to other resort regions of the country. The spread of the movement across the country is evidence of growing dissatisfaction with illegal beach rentals.

At the same time, the organizers of the action specified that their statements and claims were not groundless. The inhabitants of the islands measured and documented the area of ​​beaches occupied by umbrellas and sun loungers and were extremely surprised. Interesting details emerged. It turned out that there was practically no place for independent rest. For example, about 80% of the Cretan beach of Falasarna, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the world and is part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, is actually occupied by private cafes, restaurants and bars that operate without permits, but they charged tourists every day for sun loungers and umbrellas in the amount of up to 60 euros (about 6,300 rubles at the current exchange rate) for an umbrella and two chairs, and for the “VIP zones” they asked for 120 euros (12,600 rubles) at all. Concerned foreign tourists have also joined the movement against the dominance of rental equipment.

Faced with public pressure, the Greek government intervened in the issue of illegal seizure of beaches, promising that from now on the beach rules will be strictly observed. Thus, according to Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, changes have already begun. Beaches across the country began to be checked more strictly and to stop the illegal seizure of coastal territory. However, the issue has not yet been resolved: time will tell if the united tourists will be able to return the coastal areas to holidaymakers and restore free access to the beaches that have long been part of the culture and traditions of Greece.

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