LIMA – Surfers have rebelled against the Municipality of Lima after it decided to lay a new road and place rocks on one of the most popular beaches for that sport near the Peruvian capital.
The clash has been full of mutual accusations and even calls for intervention on the part of the navy, which says it has not authorized any construction works, and by the controller general’s office, which has announced a hearing of the complaints against the road works on Lima’s Costa Verde.
Surfers, who are to be found all year long on the beaches near Lima, have been actively supported on social networks, where many users complain about the “arrogance” of the city administration led since January by conservative Mayor Luis Castañeda Lossio.
The road works were resumed after being halted by the administration of leftist Susana Villaran, and have sparked protests by the surfers who go every day to La Pampilla beach.
Despite the opposition, the municipality authorized the continuation of the construction of a third lane on the coastal road, which will leave the area practically without a beach and led experts to warn that the rising seas would destroy the construction.
After the navy reported last weekend that the surf would rise over the next few days, the city government decided to place rocks on the beach to keep the waves from destroying the road under construction.
With that, a group of people who regularly ride the waves rejected the measure and tried Wednesday to interrupt the work.
The protest was answered by police, who even went offshore to forcefully remove some of the surfers and arrested one of their leaders, which caused an outcry in the media and online.
Representatives of the Municipality of Lima said, however, that the rocks are only meant as temporary protection and will be removed once the unusually high tide on the coast subsides.
That was said after the navy’s top officer in charge of ports, Felipe Silva, stated that any construction on the Peruvian coastline must first be authorized by the navy.
Silva said that, up to now, the Municipality of Lima does not have its permission to widen the road, nor has it authorized or recommended the placing of rocks on La Pampilla beach.
Media reported that before dawn Thursday a coast guard unit came to inspect the beach and that police officers tried to stop them.
Lawmaker Veronika Mendoza said later that the navy has fined both the municipality for placing rocks on the beach and the construction company Consorcio Vial Costasur for building a road on the coast without authorization.
Peru’s controller general, Fuad Khoury, said Friday that his office has begun “a control project” to evaluate the viability of the road construction and to weigh the complaints that have been filed against it.