The city of Barcelona will punish gatherings with alcohol outdoors with fines of up to 600 euros

Barcelona party/ Photo Lorena Sopêna / ContactoPhoto / Profimedia

The city of Barcelona has increased the fines for open-air parties where alcohol is consumed, known as "botellones", to 600 euros per person, writes "The Guardian".

Until now, fines for such gatherings ranged from 60 to 100 euros, which in the previous 30 days decreased by 75 percent.

According to Pedro Velázquez, the head of the Guardia Urbana police, from August 2 to 8, 747 people were fined 100 euros each for drinking alcohol on the street.

Higher penalties will be introduced due to the "violation of public order and peace", and the degree of the penalty will be decided by the police officer at the event itself.

Such punishments are part of the previous right-wing government's tough laws, which critics say are destroying free speech and the freedom of young people to enjoy their summer days.

"The fines of 600 euros are for causing a serious disturbance in the daily life of citizens," said Albert Butle, the city councilor responsible for order and peace, at a press conference.

"Botelon" parties, where dozens, hundreds, and occasionally thousands of young people gather at night in squares, parks or on beaches to drink alcohol, are not a new phenomenon for the city.

However, they became a significant nuisance in Barcelona last summer when curfews and strict restrictions due to the pandemic meant bars could only open during limited hours.

Bar and restaurant owners complain that a new decision forcing outdoor terraces in the most touristy parts of the city to close at 23pm will only encourage more gatherings across the city.

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