No sooner had Palma City Council said it would not be introducing new bylaws to control illegal street trading because it infringed on people’s human rights and already came under the jurisdiction of the state law, it would appear that the local police are confused about how to go about tackling the problem.
A police chief explained last week in response to the council’s announcement that they have been given no clear orders and that, in the event of having to chase an illegal street trader and he or she should fall over, the officer in hot pursuit is culpable for what ever injuries the illegal street trader suffers.
While confusion raged in Palma, in Madrid a 35-year-old street trader identified as Mame Mbaye Ndiaye from Senegal suffered a heart attack in the street while running away from police. Not only did this spark a full police inquiry, it also led to violent riots in Madrid, while the government of Senegal has officially protested the death of the street vendor who died on Thursday evening. Illegal street sellers, many of them African migrants, are a common sight in Madrid and other Spanish cities, such as Palma.
Spain is the third busiest European migration hub, with more than 20,000 arrivals recorded last year, and local legal retailers and traders fear that the loophole in the council’s new bylaws will only lead to an increase in illegal trading.
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