Some 25,000 Spanish students hold 'macro-botellon' drinking party

Reuters

Posted at Sep 19 2021 02:50 PM

People take part in an illegal 'macro-botellon' drinking party amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in the area around Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, September 17, 2021 in this still image obtained from a social media video. Video recorded September 17, 2021. Instagram @rodionbondarets/via Reuters
People take part in an illegal 'macro-botellon' drinking party amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in the area around Complutense University in Madrid, Spain, September 17, 2021 in this still image obtained from a social media video. Video recorded September 17, 2021. Instagram @rodionbondarets/via Reuters

MADRID - About 25,000 people took part in the biggest illegal drinking party in Madrid since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, police said on Saturday.

The "macro-botellon," as these outside drinking parties are called, started at the Complutense University in Madrid on Friday.

Madrid's Municipal Police said because of the large numbers involved in the party, they were unable to clear the drinkers until 7 a.m. Saturday.

Video of the party showed thousands of revelers not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing.

"It is the biggest botellon that we have seen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic," a police spokesman told Reuters.

Madrid's regional government will relax restrictions from Monday so that bars and clubs can stay open until 6 a.m., from the 2 a.m. close currently. People must still wear masks indoors and maintain a distance of 1.5 meters if social distancing is not possible.

However, mass drinking parties are still illegal and punishable with fines for taking part between 500 euros ($586.25) for minors and 600 euros ($703.50) for adults. Organizers face fines of up to 600,000 euros ($703,500.00) if a court judges it is an activity which puts public health at risk.

There were other mass drinking parties in Barcelona and the northern Spanish city of Logroño on Friday night, authorities said. 

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