Furious protests erupt at British tourist hotspot as locals vent anger

Furious families living in a tourist hotspot visited by thousands of Britons took to the streets as they battle to claim back their beaches. 

The picturesque Greek island is home to around 12,000 locals. But every summer around 450,000 tourists, many from Britain, descend onto the resort for a beach getaway.

Now, the Paros Citizens’ Movement for Free Beaches, marched along the beach in Paros, protesting against restaurants that are “illegally” spreading tables onto the sand in a bid to attract tourists.

Tonia Pantelaiou, from the movement, told France24: “It was a majestic island and now it tends to become a place like all tourist places in the world.

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“The sand is not a place to build restaurants. It is not permitted. All beaches are eco-systems”

Fellow Paros resident Panos Kefalas also attended the protest. He said: “This is something dear to our hearts. It is a big movement and we are so excited to see this, finally, this is a big change.”

The protest was sparked after claims a beach at the heart of a national park had been “illegally privatised”, claims France24. They claim there can be around 50 parasols at the beach, charging €120-a-day.

Panos added: “If you do the math it’s a decent amount of money.” 

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It is though tourism currently amounts of around 80% of the economy in Paros. New tourism projects are cropping up across the island, with more swimming pools also being built.

However locals are concerned about the impact mass tourism will have on the island, including those who benefit from the industry. One restaurant serves around 600 people a night during high season, but the owners are still concerned about the growing numbers of visitors.

Owner Haris Frantzis, speaking through a translater to France24, said: “Mass tourism has no limits, it is like cutting a branch on which we are sitting. It is already causing numerous problems and we must impose limits.” 

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