Buskers, pimps and plant-lovers beware: This is Madrid's biggest crackdown since General Franco

New anti-social behaviour laws ban everything from carelessly perched pot plants to carpet-beating in public

Madrid

In the biggest crackdown on anti-social behaviour in decades, the city of Madrid is to impose new restrictions and fines on everything from soliciting the services of a prostitute to juggling, dog-feeding and carpet-beating in public.

All manner of human behaviour is being targeted under the new laws, including being careless with pot plants on a balcony or for using a park bench for – perish the thought – “something other than sitting”.

The draft series of regulations, currently being reviewed in all-party discussions, represent the biggest single series of potential changes to the Spanish capital’s civic legislation since the ‘Policing and Good Government law’ of 1948. In equally wide-ranging format, that 1948 law banned everything in Madrid from blasphemy (intriguingly defined in the legislation as ‘particularly forbidden’) to woodchopping in public and keeping poultry.

With blasphemy hardly an issue the new set of fines and bylaws is aimed at tackling  more contemporary social problems, ranging from the relatively inoffensive car windscreen washers at traffic lights or skateboarders on pavements to the hire of private cars as group taxis, nicknamed cundas, for illegal drug users to visit their dealers.

In a crackdown on the street version of the “oldest profession in the world”, however, clients soliciting services of a sex worker in a public place will be first warned and then fined €750 if a repeat offender. The prostitute, considered to be in a high-risk category for exploitation, will not be charged.

Fines are far more severe, however, – up to €3,000 – for pimping near a school, for operating cundas, for acts of discrimination towards the disabled or for using minors in begging operations. More surprisingly, perhaps, another activity which may become a ‘serious offence’ is placing a pot-plant in a dangerous location on a balcony or windowsill – dangerous, presumably, for those walking below.

And the list of minor offences which could end up as a Madrid bylaw is a long one. According to El País newspaper, amongst other misdemeanours will be using a bench “for a purpose other than sitting down”, offering tarot services or massages on a public thoroughfare (where walking a ‘bothersome’ dog  or feeding any kind will be banned, too), shaking out carpets in the street, (previously permitted in the 1948 law, but only daily from 7am to 9am) and using  municipal ponds for model boats. Fines will range from the largely symbolic 90c [70p] to €750.

A prostitute checks her make up on a street in Madrid (Getty) A prostitute checks her make up on a street in Madrid (Getty)

 

Long-lasting public protests may also become more difficult. Demonstrators like the 15-M indignados anti-austerity movement who have previously set up campsites in central Madrid could now risk a fine if they erect so much as a tent in the emblematic Puerta del Sol square.

Madrid’s buskers, in any case, will soon find it tougher to ply their trade, having to pass a formal music exam and possess a (free) licence in order to? play. Not, though, during siesta time – 4 pm to 6 pm – when playing music in public will be prohibited.

Protesters like those who pitched tents in Puerta del Sol square risk being fined (Getty) Protesters like those who pitched tents in Puerta del Sol square risk being fined (Getty)

 

For all its thoroughness in its new bylaws, elsewhere Madrid’s government is currently battling for one special legal loophole to be created – in Spain’s anti-smoking legislation.

Madrid is keen that smokers will be able to light up in some areas inside Eurovegas, the mega-casino resort, which, if built  – although Spain’s anti-smoking laws could be a stumbling block – could provide tens of thousands of jobs for the unemployment-ridden capital. 

Eurovegas or not, running a gambling game on the streets of Madrid could garner a fine of €1,500, with throwing a cigarette butt on the pavement costing as much as €750.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
News
Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey
peopleBut who comes top of the wish list?
News
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, right, with Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds in Newtown, Powys, as part of her tour in support of the party’s female candidates
general electionNick Clegg's wife has impressed during the campaign
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living