Barcelona has banned the burka and niqab by decree in municipal facilities (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Jordi Hereu justified that it was to ensure safety and common sense and the measure is expected to be put into place after the summer. The decree is expected to issue an instruction to services and municipal authorities to change their regulations to ban any clothing or item that prevents the identification of the person. Thus, the law will also affect the use of not only burkas and the niqab but motorcycle helmets, masks or any other clothing that obscures the face. The ban will extend across facilities that include municipal markets, civic centres, museums, libraries, nurseries, public service offices, swimming pools, the zoo and the Tibidabo amusement park. In some of these facilities it is already not permitted to enter wearing 'anonymising clothing". The mayor's decision falls short for the PP and CiU but it is seen as a turn around for him as a few weeks ago he considered the debate unjustified. It is widely thought that he has been driven to consider it mainly by the actions and pressures from the PP party and the CiU. Alberto Fernández Díaz, president of the PP said that although he is not opposed to the decree he said that Hereu hadn't gone far enough as he hadn't banned the clothing item on the street. The CiU councilor Mercè Homs said something similar as he considered the council has to go further and "regulate the wearing of headscarves in other common areas in the city". ERC chairman Jordi Portabella said that Hereu can not "govern by decree" and predicted a new "political storm". Despite these criticisms, Hereu said yesterday that there was already a comprehensive consensus on the ban in municipal facilities.
Unions are to delay the general strike until September 29th as they push the government to modify its proposals (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). This decision was during a meeting of the general secretaries of the CCOO and UGT in Madrid. Ignacio Fernández Toxo and Cándido Méndez will today officially announce the call. The unions know that they have accelerated moves to close the reforms which include delaying the retirement age to 67 years in July. The strike in September will coincide with a planned demonstration day in Europe. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has called workers to march on that day against the effects the crisis is having on the labour market. The event will coincide with the summit of finance ministers in Brussels. The call to strike also coincides with the parliamentary process of reform—as announced yesterday by the organising secretary of the PSOE, Leire Pajin, the legislation adopted on Wednesday will be processed as a draft law in order to seek maximum political support. This means that the project will be subject to change until November. The reorganisation of the market is the basis for the structural changes that have to meet the government's stability plan. The goal is to return 4.6 million unemployed back to work and increase their tax contributions.
Despite police figures that state a reduction in the presence of lateros (those who sell beer in the street) the bottellón is growing in popularity amongst the young (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The list of sites where there is a concentration of young people drinking outside are varied but include the plaças of Angels, George Orwell and the Universitat (in Ciutat Vella) Sol in Gràcia and calle Pere IV. The crisis has affected the financial situations of young people more than any other group in society and this is seen as one of the main reasons as to why this practice is currently seeing figures rising. The council's summer security operation begins today and it is expected to strengthen the control of street vending both on alcohol and other products plus the ayuntamiento and Fecasarm have been promoting a plan to raise awareness over uncivil behaviour with posters that report that the selling of alcohol or drinking in the street is prohibited.
Also in the news: Rosell, the new Barça president, has revealed that he has already talked to Laporta about preparing the handover (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Flats used for tourists have grown in number outside the centre of the city in areas such as Eixample and Gràcia (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).