Should beaches be private? In Lebanon, most are

Activist Maggie Najem on Abu Ali beach in Lebanon in this screen grab from the Context video Should beaches be private? In Lebanon, most are

On paper, Lebanon’s coastline is public and open to all. In practice, it’s a different story.

Activists say up to 80% of the country’s coast is occupied by private businesses that charge for entry, and the remaining 20% is often crowded and full of pollution.

So when a fence, then a wall, then a gate began to appear at a popular local beach in Batroun, north of Lebanon, locals decided to act.

With some beach resorts costing up to $50 U.S. dollars a visit - about half the monthly minimum wage - some Lebanese see them as symbols of the inequality gripping the country since the economic crisis started in 2019.

Context travelled to Lebanon in the middle of tourist season to find the disappearing public beaches and learn how campaigners are fighting back.

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