The muggers of Magalluf
"We were set upon by a group of ten, they came out of nowhere." This was the headline for last Sunday's interview. A Belfast policeman related the story of the encounter that he and friends had with the muggers of Magalluf. This included him being sexually assaulted and experiencing a far from satisfactory procedure for having to go to court as a witness.
This story attracted the most interest on the website last week. This was not surprising. Nor was the attention paid to the fact that people in Magalluf, who have been harassing the so-called prostitutes in an attempt to drive them out, were placed under investigation for hate crime. This added to a sense of skewed perspective at institutional levels, and this was reinforced by the Council of Majorca's director of equality, Nina Parrón, calling on the prostitutes to be shown "respect" and "dignity". The reaction to what she had to say bordered on disbelief.
Parrón attended an urgent meeting of Calvia's working party for people engaged in prostitution. Numerous were the comments that these women are not prostitutes; they are violent muggers, pure and simple. When protesters gathered outside the town hall later in the week, they observed that they understand that the women are victims of "mafias". Parrón, it had appeared, was lecturing citizens on the women's wretched background while failing to appreciate what actually takes place on the streets. We felt it was an insult for her to have insinuated that men who are robbed and beaten are somehow automatically sex tourists.
The protesters, as with so many people, have had enough. The Guardia Civil said that they couldn't allow people to take matters into their own hands, but the Guardia, along with other institutions, were accused of passivity. We acknowledged that the security forces have had successes in arresting leaders of the criminal gangs and in liberating the women, but more, very much more, needs to be done.
Tourists in trouble
There were examples of tourists behaving badly. Palma police, perhaps stung into action by the regular criticisms of residents and businesses, handed out a number of fines to a group of tourists who were having a drinking party on the beach. They may or may not have been German, but there was no doubting the nationality in Cala Ratjada, where there was a flaring-up of the annual mayhem caused by young people from sports clubs celebrating the end of their seasons.
A female German tourist was detained in Playa de Palma for refusing to pay a restaurant bill, for assaulting another diner, an employee and a police officer, and for causing damage to a police vehicle. Just to set the nationality balance straight, a Scottish tourist was arrested for assault - his companions, a police officer and a doctor - and for damaging a hotel room and a police vehicle. He headbutted the car and left a dent.
Traffic congestion and saturation
Another annual round cropped up - traffic congestion. The Council of Majorca released figures regarding the maximum intensities of traffic on the Via Cintura in Palma, access points to the ring road, and elsewhere on the island. The volume of traffic was up in all instances. A response was ... to decide to form a commission to look into it.
Restrictions on traffic going to the lighthouse in Formentor were finally announced. Basically, no vehicles will be allowed in July and August during the day with certain exceptions, such as the shuttle bus from Puerto Pollensa. In Cala Varques in Manacor, the town hall is installing a barrier to prevent access to the lane leading to the cove. In Valldemossa, excursions coaches will have to reserve parking and pay for it. For Cala Torta in Arta, the town hall is introducing its own bus service and a car park with a charge.
Person of the week was Mariano Rajoy. Having been thrown out as PM by a no-confidence vote the previous week, he decided that the time had come for him to step down as leader of the party. It was best for him, best for the Partido Popular and best for Spain, all of which led the president of the PP in the Balearics, Biel Company, to thank him for his "magnanimity" in stepping aside. For Company, though, the end of Rajoy marked the chance for renewal and a "great opportunity", and boy is he going to need some stardust from whoever is the new party leader. Rajoy's final act, meanwhile, was to have to endure watching on as Pedro Sánchez was sworn in.
A boat for rent in the country
Odd story of the week was one about the renting out of a boat - one that wasn't anywhere near the sea. It was in Llubi, and it was offered for rent on 350 square metres of land, with the boat itself having a solar panel, a bed, a bathroom and a small kitchen. There was also a barbecue, and the whole thing was seemingly ideal for a weekend, although there was a price of 150 euros per month plus deposit. The Council of Majorca's agency for planning discipline got wind of what was going on and has opened proceedings against the owner, adding that it also discovered infractions to do with a caravan, a mobile home and a prefab.
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