Gatherings of thousands of youngsters in public places in Spain often descend into violence
The relaxation of Covid restrictions and night-time curfews coupled with balmy weather and summer holidays has led to a massive upsurge in the number of botellones – gatherings, usually of young people, drinking on the streets – which local police forces are struggling to contain. These informal parties, which were already a problem in many municipalities pre-pandemic, now threaten to overwhelm large and small towns alike, with typical resort areas being the hardest hit.
In Seville, the penalty for attending these gatherings has been increased from 100 euros to 300 euros with precisely zero effect. The problem has reached a point where it has actually caused the collapse of the 092 emergency telephone number in the Andalucían capital, and a dedicated line for the reporting of botellones had to be set up so that residents with emergencies could get through to the regular number. The president of the municipal police union described the situation as ‘chaos’ and explained that, most worryingly, the illegal gatherings have now started extending well beyond the weekend.
In Barcelona, where street drinking has been banned since 2006, thousands of people recently descended on the Espanya Industrial park and at 3.00 in the morning, eight riot control vans had to be deployed to clear the area.
Local officers have despaired over what they believe is a fundamental lack of support from the Guardia Civil and National Police, and they fear that only the end of the summer holidays and the resumption of the academic year will put a stop to the street gatherings.
Image: Emergencias Sevilla
Source: Murcia Today