Law enforcement officers in Barcelona were called in to disperse people drinking and dancing in the city centre and on a nearby beach in the first weekend since Spain lifted its state of emergency.
Barcelona Police, in collaboration with Catalonia”s autonomous police force the Mossos d’Esquadra, said they had broken up crowds encompassing a total of 9,055 people between 10pm on Saturday and 6am on Sunday morning.
Some residents said the events were inevitable given the length of time restrictions have been in place in Spain, where 79 new infections per 100,000 people were reported last week – about 16 percent of the peak rate in January.
“This COVID thing has affected us a lot,” one young woman told Euronews. “So now, everyone is very excited. They want to go out, they want to enjoy themselves and be with their friends. So I think it’s normal.”
Intra-regional travel bans and curfews were lifted in most of the country on May 9. Some regions including the Balearics opted to keep a curfew in place, but the move is legally contentious, with courts in both eastern Valencia and the Basque Country ruling that continued nighttime curfews were unlawful in those regions.
Explaining the new measures, a member of the national police told Euronews: “People can go out on the street, they can be on the street – there are no restrictions in force in that sense.
“What you have to do is to respect the safety measures and to wear a mask, not gather in large groups and above all, not share food and drink in public.”