On-street drinking dropping to pre-Covid levels after nightclubs reopen, says minister
So-called 'botellons' led to looted restaurants, burned-out vehicles, and attacks on police officers in September
The on-street mass drinking parties in Barcelona have reduced their numbers after the reopening of nightclubs last week. This is what the Catalan interior minister, Joan Ignasi Elena, said on Monday in an event in Tarragona.
The government member said that the so-called 'botellons' are dropping to pre-Covid levels as the indoor areas of clubs now accept party-goers, as long as they show their EU Covid-19 certificate.
He added that this crisis will allow better management of the public space, and called on the nightlife sector and the local councils to come together in order to solve the matter.
Emphasizing that on-street illegal drinking parties are no longer as large as they used to be in September, he said the debate on how to handle them has to continue but taking into account its current scale.
No major altercations on the street were reported last weekend, the first one with nightclubs at full force.
Indeed, on Monday, the superintendent spokesperson of the Mossos d'Esquadra police, Joan Carles Molinero, agreed with Elena in saying that the loosened restrictions in nightclubs have led to "the decrease of botellons," with some gatherings still spotted, but in fewer number and with fewer amount of people in each of them.
Nightly altercations for La Mercè in September
Yet, for the past few months, 'botellons' have been the usual on Friday and Saturday nights especially on Barcelona's beaches and districts such as Gràcia.
During La Mercè celebrations, in late September, dozens of people were arrested over the weekend after such parties ended up with some revelers throwing objects such as bottles at law enforcement officers, burning rubbish containers and vehicles, and looting restaurants.
Throughout that weekend, local Barcelona police and medical services had to assist a number of people who had been injured in fights and as robberies were taking place – the incidents took place especially in the capital's Plaça Espanya square and on the Bogatell beach.