Friday, 12 August 2011

Catalan seaside resort descends into violence

CATALONIA (El Pais) Twenty-two people were injured, including nine police officers, as violence erupted in Lloret de Mar for a second time this week in the early hours of Thursday morning. Twenty arrests were made after trouble flared at around 2am, when one of the town's nightclubs, Megadisco Colossos, experienced a power outage. Electricity was restored through a generator but the output was not sufficient to run the air-conditioning, leading to the opening of emergency exits. Groups of youngsters outside tried to enter via the main doors, which were being guarded by police as the venue, with a capacity of 1,800, was already full. Disturbances ensued between hundreds of club-goers as the police arrived in force.>>>

Nine riot vans arrived and a pitched battle unfolded, with youths throwing bottles and smashing windows. Among the detainees were 13 French, three Germans, two Dutch, a Swiss and a Slovenian.
After similar disturbances on Monday night, authorities in Lloret de Mar promised changes to its tourism policy.
"We are indignant," said the town's mayor, Romà Codina. "Enough is enough. Things have to change. Last night's incidents mark a point of reflection. We will not allow it to happen again."
Among the measures announced by Codina are stricter control of alcohol sales to minors, and more concerted checks on capacity adherence at clubs.
On July 18, a 15-year-old was stabbed to death in the town by a young French man. Codina said at the time that some of the French youngsters that come to Lloret de Mar are "somewhat violent, so we have to be careful."
The local nightlife management board, Fecasarm, has called on the authorities to "tackle at source" tour operators who advertise Lloret de Mar as a place "where anything goes."
Fecasarm's secretary general, Joaquim Boadas, warned that an attempt to close nightspots earlier would result in a strike by the sector, "the majority" of which abides by the rules. "If nightclubs are forced to close at 3am or 4am it could signal the ruin of the sector and the loss of jobs among 75 percent of its employees," Boadas said.

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