Greek police have detained 22 people associated with companies that illegally set up sunbeds and umbrellas on the beaches of the islands of Rhodes, Paros and Mykonos, the portal of the daily “Kathimerini” reported. One of the detainees is the owner of the shop, which has set up nearly 300 beds 5 meters from the shoreline.
In an organized action, the officers inspected beaches popular with residents and tourists, which are increasingly being occupied without permission by companies that rent sunbeds, beds and umbrellas. As the portal of the daily “Kathimerini” wrote on Friday, employees of these companies blocked both the coastline and areas that are under archaeological protection.
Stops in Rhodes, Paros and Mykonos
In Mykonos, 17 people were detained for setting up a 380 square meter platform on a public beach. A less ambitious businessman has set up 16 huge umbrellas with four sunbeds under each.
On Paros, an entrepreneur who managed to set up over 200 deckchairs without permission and the owner of a hotel who not only set up 12 umbrellas, but also a wooden gazebo – without the required permits, were detained.
Finally, in Rhodes, the owner of the shop fell into the hands of the police, who set up nearly 300 beds within 5 meters from the coastline.
Conflict over Greek beaches
The detentions are another part of the conflict over free access to public lands. The people of Greece have created a movement to protest the appropriation of beaches by private companies. The “Towel Movement”, as it has been dubbed, demands free access to beaches, recalling that under the constitution all Greek beaches are public.
As a result, critics note, although people occupying public beaches without the required permits are detained during police actions, this does not solve the issues raised by residents. Service providers obtain licenses to occupy beaches for renting sunbeds and umbrellas, and although they do not break the law, they prevent those willing to find a free place. In the most popular locations – according to the portal of the week “The National Herald” – renting an umbrella and a sun lounger can cost several hundred euros per day in the high season.
As the portal wrote, the Greek government, on the one hand, controls and retains small operators, and on the other, it leases public beaches to large companies in the best places.
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