The Ayuntamiento have opened an inquiry into the sale of badges depicting acts of anti-social behaviour in the bookshop La Central (read article in Castilian here, El País). A series of six pins have been ordered to be removed from sale at the La Central branch in the Museu de Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA). The six pins depict a thief, prostitute, mantero, latero, a rose seller and perhaps most controversially, a protestor lying at the feet of a police officer, all under one word—Barcelona. The Ayutamiento argue that the sale of the pins encourages and promotes uncivil behaviour. La Central has now removed the pins from the shop at MUHBA, a centre which depends on funds from the council, and also from the shop at the MACBA gallery. Sources from the book chain judge the move as "disproportionate" and an act "worthy of the Tea Party". However they do fear that this could lead to reprisals and the possible removal of the grant that the MUHBA bookshop relies on when the renewal of their contract comes up in a few months. The action against the prestigious chain has created alarm and some say it is indicative of a new hard-line style of government. A source from the Instituto de Cultura de Barcelona (ICUB), where the inquiry has been opened, said that "this is not the image we want to project of the city from a municipal facility". The fifth deputy mayor, Jaume Ciurana said of the badges, "the Consistorio are as sad for those who commit uncivil activities as for those who profit from it". The current funding for the MUHBA comes to an end in February 2011 and the question remains whether this incident will come into consideration when they formulate new specifications. A municipal spokesman acknowledged that in the case of a fine could possibly affect the possible renewal of grants. The men behind the badges, Arcadi Royo and Margalida Montoya have expressed their concern over the move and said that "it is worrying that the Catalan people, known for having a self-deprecating and acidic humour are now submitted to this kind of censorship similar to that of 50 year ago. This should raise alarm".
The Mercè festivals will be the shortest and most austere so far (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The city's main fiesta, will be a day shorter than last year, from September 22nd until the 25th, but will maintain a virtually unchanged level of activity despite cutting costs. St. Petersburg will be the invited city, linked to Barcelona since the Eighties, the highlight of which will be a performance of Swan Lake in the Parc de la Ciutadella. Speaking at a press conference yesterday the Deputy Mayor and Councillor for Culture said that the budget for cultural activities will be €3.4 million, compared to the €3.6 million budget of last year. For the third consecutive year, the reception party at the Palacete Albéniz has been cancelled—the last party cost half a million euros in 2008. Councillor Marta Almirall, in charge of the Festival explained that due to the reduction in budget, events taking place in the Teatre Grec, the Canódromo and at the stage at the Portal de la Pau have been cut, however she wanted to emphasis the inclusion of the Plaça de la Mercè as the main stage for the traditional activities such as the habaneras, sardanas and castells. As usual the end of the festivities will be marked with the Festival del Cielo, which can be seen from the beaches of Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella and the Marina and the piromusical event at the four towers of Puig i Cadafalch.
Also in the news: Spain win 6-0 and confirm their place in the forthcoming European Championships (read full article here, El Periodico). Some 150 pharmacies to stop offering a nighttime and weekend out-of-hours service (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).