The Guardia Civil have, according to reports this Friday morning, removed around 200 people from the newly constructed and controversial Tauro beach, on the south of Gran Canaria, having found that bathers had occupied the area that has been fenced off for over a year now.
Efe press agency has reported that the boundary fence was put there by court order due to serious irregularities detected in the permits and construction of the beach, which was apparently confirmed by the Las Palmas Guardia Civil Command.
The beach, originally made up of natural pebbles and stones, was controversially covered over using 70,000 tons of sand, taken from Western Sahara, in works that were carried out last year, despite preconditions for the project, demanded by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, having not been met; which in turn led to the dismissal of the then-head of the Costas de Canarias (coastal authority), José María Hernández de León, who is now facing potential imprisonment after the Public Prosecutor’s Office accused him of having authorised the works, in spite of being well aware of the irregularities, and subsequently falsifying documents to try and hide it.
That complaint has given rise to criminal proceedings, directed by Court number 3 in the neighbouring municipality of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, said in these reports to have taken the precautionary measure of fencing the new artificial sand beach and prohibiting its use for the moment.
The problem experienced today (Good Friday) has however been more cumbersome for the agents of the Guardia Civil, because several of the fences and signs that indicated the boundaries of the beach have been removed and so officers have been forced to explain a large number of bathers, engaged in their Easter holidays, that the beach is out of use and legally they can not be there.
On the busiest holiday weekend of the year, with a pristine virgin sandy beach clearly visible from the road, who is to blame bathers and holiday makers for wanting to use this lovely coastal strip?
The suggestion that the fences were put up on the basis of the court cases is pure fantasy. Poppycock. The fences were erected, despite local protests, to allow for this overly hurried construction project to get going in the first place. They were supposed to be down again by August.
The subsequent engineering flaws, flooding of local homes, dismissal of a top coastal authority official following a Guardia Civil investigation and the resulting criminal proceedings do not wash well at all with ordinary Canarians who have been blocked for more than year from reaching this part of their coast, any more than it makes sense to holiday makers who have flown thousands of miles to get here to use the island´s beaches for their holidays, only to find themselves unceremoniously removed by armed paramilitary police.
What on earth are we all to make of this shambles? Is the beach actually a risk to the public? Have the flaws that allowed sea water to flood homes now been rectified? When will these fences be removed? As much as it is illegal to pitch a tent or camp on the coastline in non-designated areas, it is also a matter of Spanish law that citizens have unfettered access to the beaches which are protected public property.
With all due respect, what value can their be to maintaining these restrictions?
We humbly ask the government to respect our coastlines and the rights of every citizen.
REMOVE THE FENCES!