ATHENS – A brutal assault on an archaeologist that led Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to pledge a stop to unlawful construction on Mykonos hasn’t kept a wall from being erected to block off Panormos Beach, a popular spot where private clubs charge up to 500 euros ($544) a day to rent lounge seats.
Photos of the wall – some juxtaposed next to images of a 5-meter high (16.4) wall on Greece’s border with Turkey aimed at keeping out asylum seekers – went up on social media amid reports of angry reactions, said In.Gr.
“It is inconceivable that there can be an island where some people consider themselves to be above the law,” Mitsotakis said after the brazen beating of the archaeologist who has oversight of building permits.
Mykonos in 2023 was the third most-visited spot on the planet and developers have for years been building where they want, virtually unchecked, to create luxury spots making them rich, the public left out of access.
The assault led to suspension of building permits – with a number of exemptions – even though the Environment Ministry said that, “no illegal act, no illegal project will be allowed to be legalized … no blackmail and no loophole will work.”
The New Democracy government also said it would send 100 additional police as well as tax inspectors and financial crime investigators in what is almost an annual crackdown that quickly recedes as tourists and money pours in.
The site didn’t indicate who put up the wall but said that public beaches on the island are taken over by private developers with impunity and that the Panormos Wall had seen even more fire directed at the government in the wake of the deaths of 57 people in a head-on train collision.
The photos of the Panormos Beach Wall came a day after the government signed a contract to extend the Evros River wall on Turkey’s border and led to ridicule on social media about “the borders of Mykonos” keeping out the poor.
“Mykonos, Greece, 2023. The development has stopped… A thousand apologies for moaning that the other guy got permission to build a dock in a magnificent location to moor his boat in Spetses. A thousand apologies. I’ll come and dock your boat for you if it’s too rough. We had a saint on the island,” said state-run broadcaster journalist Dimitris Kottaridis, who published the photo, the site also said.