On Sa Rapita beach on Saturday. | Pilar Pellicer


I was trying to figure out why, if you wished to stage some sort of protest on a beach related to tourism, you would choose the beach by the Sa Rapita yacht club at 10am on a Saturday morning. It then became clear. It was because you wished to stand out. There was hardly anyone else there, except about as many representatives of the media as there were of you. Twenty-odd versus another twenty-odd.

It was a performance: huddled together as if on one towel, as this is how it is in a Mallorcan summer - not even five centimetres to put out a towel. The fact that there may not be even five centimetres could have something to do with all the sunloungers that occupy beach space.

Anyway, as it happened, there was abundant space. More than enough to have taken along cool boxes, a shedload of beach furniture (including a couple of beach tents) and the odd inflatable dinosaur. Which is what tends to get hauled on to beaches on Sundays. Not by tourists, but by residents. The next action(s) has/have been booked in for June 16, a Sunday. If anyone's going to get brassed off as a consequence, one suspects it will be the residents and not the tourists. The residents are perfectly capable of 'collapsing' the beaches themselves without the aid of a performance - or tourists, come to that.

It's not as if I'm not sympathetic. I am. Very sympathetic because of overcrowding, because of the strains on resources; all of it. But this? What was it really, as the impetus appeared to have come from ill-chosen words by a Vox member of the Balearic parliament - "We Mallorcans ... cannot expect to go to the beach in July and August as we did years ago." In which case it was as much, if not more, about Vox as it was tourist 'massification'.

As for the foreign media, they must have been seriously disappointed by the absence of wholesale beach occupation. Not, one guesses, that this will hold them back.