By Gina Agapiou
A demonstration in support of allowing sunbeds and umbrellas on the protected turtle beach in Lara will be held on September 1.
The beach comes under the responsibility of Inia whose local council have urged people to gather on the beach next Sunday and bring sunbeds and umbrellas to demonstrate against the ban on beach furniture.
Lara Beach is situated in Akamas and has been turtle conservation station protected since 1971 so although it is possible to visit and swim at the beach, it is illegal to place sunbeds, umbrellas and tents, or park cars or caravans. It is also illegal to fish (apart from angling) or light a fire.
During a meeting on Tuesday, Inia village council decided to hold the demonstration after the Department of Fisheries announced it would place a representative there to inform visitors not only about the turtles but also enforce the regulations against using sunbeds and umbrellas.
Community leader Yiangos Tsivikos said the council has requested for years to be able to place umbrellas or/and sunbeds at Lara beach.
“Turtles give birth everywhere,” he said, adding that it is unfair that Lara beach is being so strictly controlled by the Department of Fisheries and is the only beach on Cyprus where the law is actually applied against umbrellas and sunbeds.
He added that the representatives of Fisheries Department are driving away tourists by informing them about the €500 fine unless they follow the regulations.
Apart from the demonstration, at 11am, the municipality will take other measures including abstaining from taking part in discussions with the Advisory Committee on the Management of the Akamas National Forest Park (EDPA).
The Department of Fisheries, which oversees the turtle protection programme, said on Thursday it would not tolerate any bending of the nature conservation law.
In an announcement, the department said illegal activities have taken place in the area in recent years which have prompted the department to take measures to preserve the natural habitat of the turtles.
Lara beach is known worldwide as a turtle conservation area for Caretta Caretta and Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) nest. It is included in the EU’s Natura2000 protected areas. Cyprus is the only EU country where green turtles nest.