BOTELLON, a tradition of evening public drinking among Spanish youths has proved it’s still alive and kicking in Almuñecar this year.
The activity involves groups ranging in size from a handful of people to several hundred, gathering in a public place to drink and socialise.
In Almuñecar, it’s the beach that’s given a home to this activity, with hundreds coming together each weekend at the Paseo de Las Gondolas on Playa Puerta del Mar after it was banned in other areas of town. With the gatherings happening on the beach, they are in the jurisdiction of the Costas rather than the town, rendering them unable to fine the groups.
Faced with groups sometimes numbering up to a thousand, the handful of Local Police can have a difficult time keeping order.
“I cannot allow my police officers to mess with this crowd,” said Juan Jose Ruiz Joya, the mayor’s Lieutenant for Security. “In addition, we do not have the capacity to enter and fine on the beach, since it is governed by the powers of the Costas.”
Instead, the town hall has adopted a strategy of prevention, with police patrolling the promenade attempting to deter more people from joining the crowds. Complaints about Botellon do not come from residents, who mostly only complain about cars blasting music for the revellers. Instead the complaints largely come from those who run bars and other venues. Botellon largely originated as a way to get around high drink prices, similar to pre-drinking in the UK. At least one bar manager said he would ban Botellon but the event looks set to continue for some time.