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Restaurant calls police when tourist won’t leave beach palapa

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The beach in Progreso is for everyone, but the palapas are private. Photo: Courtesy

Progreso, Yucatan — A Mexican tourist and his family faced down waiters, and the police, refusing to budge from a restaurant’s beachfront palapa.

“Show me the piece of paper where it says I can’t be on the beach,” the unnamed tourist said in a confrontation captured on video. ” The beach is free and it’s for the Mexicans!”

Le Saint Bonnet, the restaurant who serves diners under those palapas, said otherwise. Palapas are traditional Mexican shelters, roofed with palm leaves or branches to provide shade at the beach.

The visitor and his family had settled in the shade on the beach at Calle 78, but they didn’t order anything from the menu. Restaurant staff told him that the palapas are reserved for paying customers.

The police intervened when the family refused to comply. The family avoided arrest when they eventually moved along.

The local newspaper Progreso Hoy reported that in the last week, several visitors have expressed their anger over the palapas, which are owned by restaurants and concessionaires.

Some visitors apparently resented that the palapas were intended for an elite crowd. Last week, a woman on social media said that a restaurant’s 1,000-peso “minimum consumption” rule was abusive.

The city has also struggled to keep the beach under control. Beachfront is indeed federal property, but banana boat operators, masseuses and other businesses seek out tourists on cruise-ship days.

Previously, the city cracked down on vendors who left their equipment on the malecon overnight.

Source: Progreso Hoy

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