Society 12/03/2021

Crowds in el Born: "It's the only place where we know there is a good atmosphere to have a drink"

Hundreds of people get together on the Passeig del Born in Barcelona without respecting covid restrictions covid

3 min
Paseo del Borne full of people having dinner and a drink

BarcelonaThe residents of Passeig del Born and the surrounding streets wake up, especially on weekends, with the doors to their buildings full of disposable coffee cups and milkshake glasses that, suspiciously, contain slices of lemon. "We ordered sangria," says a 22-year-old student from the Netherlands, holding a takeaway coffee cup. "I'm having a cocktail," adds a friend of hers. So it is, every evening, that crowds gather to have a drink in el Born in a game of cat and mouse with the police. Often they don't respect the safety distances, they form large groups and most of those who wear masks drop them under their noses and mouths.

There are people of all kinds. There are Barcelonians who simply want to be distracted. "We're fed up, and the Born is the only place in Barcelona where we know there's a good atmosphere for a drink," says one girl, amid laughter from her group of friends. There are also tourists who escape the restrictions of their own country. "In the Netherlands we couldn't be doing this here, my parents only leave the house to go to the supermarket", says a man. There are foreigners who know that they are breaking the measures - "man, everything is closed and there is no one anywhere, it is obvious that we know it is not legal" - and there are those who play dumb. "It's been ten days since I arrived in Barcelona and I don't know what restrictions there are", says a Venezuelan tourist. And well, there are also some clueless Catalans. "Oh, I didn't know we couldn't have a beer and a pizza in the street," says a young man from Sant Cugat del Vallès.

Police clear Passeig del Born

For some time now, especially during the last month, the residents of the Born have been complaining. "The neighbourhood is full of night bars, there are fewer and fewer shops, and we're used to the noise, but these last few days it's been over the top," says Mercè, who lives on Carrer de la Reguera. "Normally," she continues, "when you call the police they come, but when they've had other issues, like the protests against Pablo Hasél's imprisonment, they don't".

In fact, the local police admits that during the weekends of protests, they lacked the numbers to evict the crowds in Born. Even so, they assure that now every evening they clear the square to avoid it becoming fixed as a meeting place to go to have a drink skipping the restrictions. The add that crowds used to gather by the Macba and now it seems that they have moved to the Born. On the other hand, the Guardia Urbana claims that they can't evict groups of under than six people and that they can't go checking what's inside everyone's coffee cup.

The police disperse the party

Normally, like this Thursday, around eight o'clock in the evening three hundred people gather in the Passeig del Born, large groups are formed and there is lively chatter until the Mossos d'Esquadra and the Guardia Urbana arrive. According to the local police, the security forces vacate the area in a "pedagogical and polite" way and only identify or fine those that take no notice or consume large amounts of alcohol. "They didn't tell us anything, just to leave and that's it," says a couple who have come to celebrate a birthday and are on their way home. There are, however, those who still haven't had enough and go into the alleyways of the Born to have a last drink in bars and restaurants that are open until after curfew.

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