Police Move Barcelona Crowds Along Amid Post-Curbs Parties

May 16, 2021 Updated: May 16, 2021

BARCELONA—Police intervened to move along thousands of people drinking and dancing in Barcelona’s city center and on the nearby beach, seeking to prevent dangerous overcrowding on the first full weekend after Spain lifted COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have cleared people from central streets and also about 2,000 from the beach, some who of whom were not respecting restrictions on distances or health regulations, but there were no fights,” Major Ricardo Salas, of the Barcelona City Guard, told Reuters on Sunday morning.

Epoch Times Photo
Police officers evict groups of more than six people at Barceloneta beach, as the state of emergency decreed by the Spanish government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was lifted a week ago in Barcelona, Spain, on May 15, 2021. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

The government lifted a six-month state of emergency on May 9 at midnight local time, so this was the first chance for revelers to party throughout the weekend.

There are still some restrictions in place. In Catalonia, for example, bars and restaurants are open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m and the maximum number of people allowed at tables is four.

With no more curbs on moving around the country, many Spaniards took a mini-break over the weekend.

Epoch Times Photo
People gather in front of police officers patrolling Barceloneta beach, as the state of emergency decreed by the Spanish government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 was lifted a week ago in Barcelona, Spain, on May 15, 2021. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

Traffic authorities reported a 42 percent rise in cars leaving major cities on Friday compared with the same time the previous week. Tourist chiefs in the southeastern resort of Benidorm said hotel bookings were at 60 percent.

One of Europe’s worst-hit nations, Spain has recorded 79,339 coronavirus deaths and 3.6 million cases, according to Friday’s health ministry data. But infection rates have fallen and nearly a third of the population has had at least one vaccination dose.

By Nacho Doce