STAFF REPORTER

AFTER much lobbying by residents and business associations, Palma City Council finally approved a draft law yesterday, aimed at curtailing the practice of the street drinking party, or botellon.

Technically worded to “foster civil behaviour in public places”, the draft law intends to ban under-age drinking and to stop mass congregation in the street which could give rise to public order offences and disturbance of the peace.

Speaking after the Council meeting yesterday, Mayor Aina Calvo said that gatherings of large numbers of people in public places will be considered illegal when they constitute a violation of the rights of local residents and businesses and when right of way is denied to pedestrians. Mass gatherings obstructing the day-to-day use of public places will also be seen as a breach of the peace.

Calvo said that the new legislation would entail the right of the City Council and the security forces to prevent groups of revellers getting together for street drinking parties in areas that have hitherto been prone to noise and nuisance such as the Paseo Maritimo from midnight to 8am. But Calvo said that this aspect of the new law would also extend to areas close to hospitals and schools, and those of special heritage or environmental interest or touristic importance.

Further details of the legislation emerging yesterday revealed that local government wants to ban the sale of alcohol in shops between midnight and 8am, in vending machines and from street traders. Throwing drink containers away - whatever they might be made of - on public ground will similarly become an offence.

The Mayor said that penalties will include a series of fines, ranging from 750 to 3'000 euros which could nevertheless be exchanged for community work.
The draft law recommended the creation of a special committee to monitor the affect that the new legislation will have on public behaviour. Representation on the committee would come from local government, youth groups, neighbourhood and business associations, unions, and the tourist and commerce sectors.

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