Clubs to reopen until 3.00 am from Thursday
Investigation underway into organisers of illegal parties
BarcelonaThe Catalan Government has decided to allow bars and nightclubs to reopen until 3.00 am, while restaurants will be allowed to close at 1 am. This comes after in the past few days, a growing number of officials had spoken in favour of reopening clubs, as a tool to curb the proliferation of illegal parties known as botellones. This weekend's alcohol-fuelled macro-gatherings at the UAB or in Tiana had reopened the debate at a key moment, only a week before Barcelona holds La Mercè festival in Barcelona.
For weeks the Barcelona City Council has been calling for "decompression spaces" – in the words of Security councillor Albert Batlle – to help control the parties. This Monday, Catalan Minister of Home Affairs Joan Ignasi Elena admitted in an interview on SER Catalunya that reopening bars would help to "manage" nighttime crowds. Elena has also explained that it is being investigated if some of the macrobotellones in the past events were organised events. In statements to SER Catalunya, he said it is "clear" that behind some of these events is not a group of friends, but "economic interests" who see an opportunity to make money.
On the facts in Tiana this weekend, in which a group of young people threw bottles at police, Elena explained that there are videos and warned that those who acted aggressively against the officers could be identified and charged with assault and public disorder. He believes these are "isolated" events and has backed the officers actions, who left the scene and returned with back-up. In this case, as in the case of the macrobotellón at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the minister said that it is necessary to act proportionally. In the case of the UAB, he insisted that the organisation of the party was discovered in the early evening.