TOWEL MOVEMENT: "New Democracy's law reduced free space on beaches," says opposition SYRIZA

reclaim the beach paros, towel movement

Commenting on the so-called towel movement, main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance spokesperson Stergios Kalpakis said on Monday that "a law passed by the New Democracy government in 2020 reduced free space on beaches" and "sent a signal for the occupation of public space."

"The movement for free beaches demonstrates the great importance and the results of mobilisation by the citizens to defend public space," he said.

"In 2020, an ND government law restricted the free space on beaches to 50% and reduced the exclusion for those who occupy space without permission from five years to one year," Kalpakis said.

In 2019, he pointed out that SYRIZA had legislated that 60 pct of the beaches would be unrestricted access routes to the remaining 40 pct.

The so-called ‘Towel Movement’ was launched on the island of Paros after locals lost patience with the beach bar owners and marched with banners that proclaimed: "Reclaim the beach: Paros citizens movement for free beaches."

Illegal operators have ripped off tourists who want to use plastic recliners. The Save Paros Beaches group showed one firm charging £51.68 – to rent an umbrella and two sunbeds for the day. For  £103.36 – visitors could even bask in a ‘VIP area’.

The Save Paros Beaches group said in a statement: "We claim our right to public space, our right to enjoy our beaches that are encroached upon by greedy, socially irresponsible businessmen who occupy beaches in their entirety or exceed their limits by up to 100 times the area they legally lease."

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The mayor of Paros responded: "We are experiencing a condition where indecency is so pervasive anyway. Everyone does what they want. Everyone can ask for what they want because they have never been in control, let alone have consequences attributed to them."

The ‘Towel Movement’ is spreading to other areas in Greece as communities come together to reclaim the beaches.

READ MORE: Mavra Volia: The famous beach of Chios with its cool waters is a unique natural phenomenon.

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