Small retailers in Palma are suffering. | Jaume Morey

Shops in Palma were shut for an hour on Thursday in protest at the town hall's mobility policies and the closing of some city centre streets to traffic.

The president of the Pimeco smaller retailers association, Antoni Fuster, said that some 1,500 shops closed. These included some which are franchises. The symbolic gesture was designed to highlight the fact that the city "will die" without its retail businesses. The Afedeco association produced 1,200 posters for the protest.

On Thursday morning, business owners held up banners during the town hall plenary session and protested against mobility measures which they say will mean that they have to close.

Toni Gayà, the president of Afedeco, said that the town hall talks about pedestrianising streets, but what it is doing is closing streets to traffic so that people don't go down them. He gave the example of Calle Velázquez. Seventy per cent of shops were shut when this street was closed to traffic. "Now that it is pedestrianised, it will come back to life; to pedestrianise is not the same thing as to close streets."

Gayà has invited Alberto Jarabo, the town hall spokesperson and councillor for trade, to walk along Calle Unió in the afternoon. He will find that it is empty. "A street without trade is a dead street. The value of real estate goes down, and so residents also lose out."

The Afedeco president is demanding that the town hall meets the retailers. They are not against pedestrianisation but believe that before there is, a good transport service into the centre, plus car parking away from the centre, needs to be available. "In Palma this is very bad."