By Humphrey Carter
OVER 30.000 people are expected to march through Palma this evening in protest over the Balearic conservative government's development, tourism and education policies. The Partido Popular have not been back in power a year yet in Palma, but this will be one of the biggest anti-regional government rallies staged in recent years. Last night, spokesperson for the government, Joan Flaquer, said that, while the administration fully respects the march and that the public has the right to freely express its opinions on any government policy, the government also asks those taking to the streets “to equally respect the free opinions of the majority” who voted for the new government at the local elections last year. Joan Flaquer said that at the last elections, a majority of the electorate voted in favour of the construction of a “vital” infrastructure to improve the general quality of life. He said it is quite “normal” for left-wing opposition parties to back the march which has been primarily organised by the Balearic green group GOB. “It's very important for the people to see that there are two alternatives, one of those is that of the PP which in its election manifesto promised ‘fast, safe and comfortable roads'. “There are others who believe the opposite and showed that while they were in office for the four previous years,” said Flaquer, “it's logical that they'll be joining the protest. “We respect their opinions, just don't share them,” he added.
Nevertheless, 30'000 people are expected to gather in Plaça Espanya tonight at 6pm and march through the city demanding that the government call a halt to proposed road and urban developments, in particular along the region's coastline. Greenpeace has backed the march and said that the government has to stop damaging the environment “it has to stop urban sprawl, devise a sustainable management plan for the Balearics,”the group said. Flaquer hit back yesterday saying that the region's road system is being revised to bring it up to date, so it can safely handle the amount of traffic in Majorca “our primary concern is road safety,” the government spokesperson and Tourism Minister said. “These are electoral promises we made and we obviously intend to honour them,” he added.
The thousand-person march will include a large number of lecturers and students from the Balearic university, angry not only over the government's development plans, but also certain cut backs to education funding.

A large group of local artists will also be taking part as well as union representatives.
Roads along the route of the march will be closed for the duration of the protest tonight, so be prepared for traffic diversions and parking difficulties if coming into Palma this evening.

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