THE Spanish government have announced a ban on marches that traditionally take place across Madrid to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

“Madrid continues to be one of the Spanish regions with the highest infection rate as well as the highest number of hospital admittances,” the central government’s chief representative to the Madrid region told a news conference on Thursday.

Jose Manuel Franco said the decision had been taken after 104 requests for demonstrations on March 7-8, which would have brought at least 60,000 people out onto the streets of the capital.

“The problem is the size of the crowds that would build up in a few hours and in a few places,” he insisted.

Last year the marches controversially went ahead despite the coronavirus spread across Spain and a week later a state of emergency was declared and the nation was put under strict lockdown.

Women's Day march
Women’s Day March in Madrid 2019 Photo by Fiona Govan

Although Spain has passed the peak of the third wave seeing the number of infections per 100,000 people measured over the past two weeks has drop sharply to an average of 160 cases on average across the country.

But Madrid still has the highest infection rate on the peninsula and remains the only mainland where cases are over 250 per 100,000 a level that falls above the “extreme risk” threshold.

Last year the marches controversially went ahead despite the coronavirus spread across Spain and a week later a state of emergency was declared and the nation was put under strict lockdown.

At the time opposition leaders strongly criticized the government of Pedro Sanchez for allowing the marches to go ahead.

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