Tensions are at boiling point in the centre of Palma with small retailers and legal arts and crafts stall holders fed up with continuing battle with illegal street traders which are taking a large chunk out of the business while damaging the capital’s image, especially around the Cathedral.
While the new city council is pretty much the same as the previous left wing coalition group, it no longer has councillors defending the “human rights” of illegal street traders and encouraging them to learn Catalan. Last week in Barcelona, over 100 local police were involved in a massive snap operation against illegal street traders in the main tourists spots of the city and a major multi-lingual campaign has been launched dissuading visitors from purchasing goods from illegal street traders.
Should they do so and get caught, they face being fined, similar to the chap who was fined last month for doing exactly that in the Playa de Palma. There was obvious outrage that the tourist was fined and not the street vendor, but the thinking is that if the message is successfully received by visitors to Barcelona, illegal street traders will lose business and eventually go.
Barcelona council is putting up posters and distributing information postcards explaining the problem and the consequences. Like it or not, at least the council is being proactive with the support of local businesses and residents, so when is Palma going to do something?