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Barcelona wants to open beaches on 'special night' of Sant Joan

June 23 celebrations could be "similar" to those seen before the pandemic according to city council

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31 May 2021 05:30 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Barcelona City Council intends to keep the city's beaches open on the "special night" of Sant Joan, according to the Deputy Mayor for Security, Albert Batlle.

"It is foreseeable that this year the festival of Sant Joan will be similar to before last year," Batlle said on Monday, referring to the traditional June 23 celebration of fire and food, which was scaled back drastically in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The deputy mayor says crowds will be allowed to gather along the coastline because it is a night like no other and the council is satisfied that it will not adversely affect the pandemic data.

As was the case before the pandemic, police and other council workers will clear revelers from the sands at 6am, allowing cleaning staff to prepare the beaches for people who want to sunbathe and swim the next day.

St John's Eve, La Nit de Sant Joan in Catalan, is a midsummer festival celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. Beaches are often the focal point of the festivities with plenty of food and drink to accompany the spectacle.

Policing the beaches

Battle made the comments about Sant Joan during a press conference explaining the policing arrangements for the Catalan capital's beaches over the summer.

The local police force, the Guàrdia Urbana, has a unit dedicated specifically to the task. It began operating on May 24 and will be active until September.

The group is made up of 90 officers and 32 vehicles, including mopeds, bicycles, four-wheeled vehicles, quads for driving on sand and two boats, 6.5m and 7.5m long.

Its responsibilities include preventing theft and offering assistance to victims, while this year there will be a particular focus on clamping down on the use of what the council calls personal mobility vehicles, such as electric scooters and segways. Batlle stressed that the unathorized use of such vehicles would be dealt with severely and that, if necessary, they will be immobilized and removed.

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  • A person cycles in front of a Sant Joan bonfire in Barcelona's Plaça de la Virreina, June 23, 2019 (by Elisenda Rosanas)

  • A person cycles in front of a Sant Joan bonfire in Barcelona's Plaça de la Virreina, June 23, 2019 (by Elisenda Rosanas)

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