THE Mayor of Madrid is demanding protests to be banned in areas of cultural or historical importance throughout Spanish cities.
Mayor Ana Botella has urged the government to restrict the people’s constitutional right to demonstrate in places of artistic and historical importance, as well as large tourist areas and main transport routes.
If enforced, these restrictions would shield against protests in city centres across Spain.
The mayor insisted that: “The capital cannot tolerate public space being systematically occupied when Madrid is made the target of demonstrations, which effectively take the people of Madrid hostage.”
However, a report from the State Attorney General insists that the proposal would be unworkable.
The report argues that a protest causes no more damage to historical or artistic heritage that the usual movement of people and traffic, and that the next move would have to be to ban people and traffic completely.
The constitution currently says that the right for peaceful assembly, without arms, is authorised. Authorities at the moment can only ban protests when there is substantial disorderly conduct, or people or property are endangered.
The mayor did not identify specific areas for protection, but the ban would include all areas of cultural, historical or artistic importance.
Municipal sources have said that it would be practically impossible to determine which city centre areas would be accessible for protests, and as such the ban would lead to total restriction.