Dekapentavgoustos, the 15th of August, is a public holiday in Greece.
The cities empty and the countryside comes alive.
Athens looks like a ghost town today. Whoever has not left on holiday is on one of the nearby beaches.

The banner says:”We have struggled hard to get access to this beach. Look after it!”

Ellinikon Municipality Beach is one of the few organised beaches which do not charge an entry fee. Right next to the old Athens airport the Beach is operated by the Municipality since 2005. Until then the whole area was given to private entrepreneurs who charged not only for the use of their facilities but also for the simple access to the sea. Mayor Kortzides claimed the use of the beach for the Ellinikon citizens but also for whoever wanted to use it. Together with his citizens he started a long struggle against powerful interests. Finally, and after a 24 day hunger strike, the Mayor won and the beach is now open to the public.

We visited the beach today. There are many umbrellas and chairs provided by the Municipality, there is space for the people who bring their own umpbrellas with them, changing rooms are available, the showers do not operate on holidays and weekends because the private water supplier charges exorbitant prices. During the week the Municipality provides water for the showers by its own vehicles.

There is one coffee shop with reasonable prices – two souvlakis,chips and bread cost 4 Euros. The site is also served by the tram and many bus services thus making it acceccible to people without a car.

While we were sipping our coffee a very disturbing announcement was made through the loudspeaker: this beach, one of the very few ones affordable to all, is in danger. The government is thinking of “selling” it!! Another privatisation that deprives Greeks of their patrimony and, if built, will definitely harm the environment too.

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