War on illegal street sellers in Barcelona

BARCELONA has declared war on street sellers and drafted in 100 Mossos d’Esquadra regional police, Urban Guard and Port Police specifically for the job. 

They will be permanently stationed at ‘hot spots’ for street sellers between 9.30am and 10 pm to prevent sellers laying out pitches in the form of blankets covered with watches, handbags and other goods. 

These sites are generally in those areas busiest with tourists including the Rambla, the Rambla de Catalunya, Plaça de Catalunya, Passeig de GràciaPasseig de Joan de BorbóPlaça de Pau Vila, Passeig de Colom and the Portal de la Pau. 
Deputy mayor of Prevention and Security, Albert Batlle, said there is no deadline for ending the operation, and it will continue until the problem is eradicated. He maintains that such sellers cause damage to legitimate shops. 

While Barcelona is targeting the street sellers, Palma police in Mallorca have been discouraging people from buying from them by issuing fines. 

Last month the EWN reported that Palma police had issued their first fine for making a purchase from an illegal street seller. 

A foreign tourist was given the fine in Arenal where bylaws lay out penalties of between €100 to €750.  

It is uncertain how effective this measure will be as fines are not collected on the spot and tourists by definition are only in Mallorca for a short while. 

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Dilip Kuner

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