Catalonia celebrates first Covid-restriction-free Sant Joan’s eve
Authorities declare "few incidents" during night after more than 5,600 calls to emergency phone number
Catalonia has been united in celebrating one of the most awaited Sant Joan’s revetlla, eve in English. This year, marked the first one with no Covid-19 restrictions and thousands took to the streets and beaches across the territory to enjoy the night.
Traditionally June 23, the eve of Saint John's Day, has been regarded as 'the shortest night of the year' – while it is not exactly correct because the countdown for a long and dark winter begins on June 21, it is a perfect motto to celebrate the summer solstice.
Catalans feel a real need to make the most of the barely 9-hour night, with partying in the streets, beaches, and squares up to a clear deadline: the sunrise, at around 6am.
This year, however, some measures to avoid wildfires were in place after several simultaneous blazes burned down hundreds of hectares the previous week. In some municipalities, especially in the northern-east counties of Girona, officials set up some designated areas to light up fireworks.
Other towns, such as Valldoreix and Vallromanes, both near Barcelona, banned selling firecrackers.
In Barcelona city, around 60,000 people went to the beaches to celebrate Saint John’s eve. It has been the site with the "maximum affluence" during the eve, Albert Batlle, Barcelona’s councilor for security, said on Friday morning.
Overall, there is a "positive outcome" of the several activities. These figures "mean the recovery of full normality, as it feels like a pre-pandemic number," Batlle added.
During the night, there have been 32 incidents in the Barceloneta neighborhood, the one next to the beaches. Two of them were sexual aggressions, another one was a sexual assault, and the last two were in regard to "discomfort" in public areas.
Across Catalonia, there have been "few incidents," as the Catalan interior secretary-general, Oriol Amorós, said in an interview with radio RAC1 on Friday morning.
Sant Joan’s eve has been a night "with plenty of work but few incidents," he added. In fact, the emergency phone number 112 received 5,624 calls, 7% more than the previous year.
Out of these, 2,933, were in regards to burned containers o small fires in public areas vegetation.
"There have not been any major situations caused by the ‘revetlla’," Amorós concluded. Until 8am on Friday, Catalan firefighters had received 900 warnings, and authorities acted on 663 of them.
Out of the over 5,600 calls, 2,896 of them were in regards to fires, some of these were doubled as officials only reported 1,006 incidents. Civics was the second major problem during the night with 1,484 calls received by the 112 emergency phone number, followed by aggressions (643 calls from 396 incidents) or to ask for medical assistance (256 phone calls from 189 issues).
The Catalan health emergencies (SEM) team has helped 179 people. 104 due to intoxications, 26 after suffering aggression, 38 for traffic accidents, nine burned, and one after drowning.
The Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra police detained 57 people during the Sant Joan's eve. Eight of them for crimes against property and 15 for gender violence.
The Catalan interior ministry published the figures on Friday midday, and go from Thursday night at 10pm until 10am on Friday.
In the Catalan capital, Mossos are also investigating the death of a man stabbed and the attempted murder of a homeless woman.