Tuesday, July 5

The opposition warns that Madrid Pride could be “chaos” because of Almeida: “They want it to go wrong”

The Mixed Group in the Madrid City Council fears for LGTBI Pride in the city. “They want it to go wrong to have an excuse for next year,” laments councilor Marta Higueras, who denounced this Friday conditions imposed by the municipal government that make “its normal development and operation unfeasible” and a lack of organization to lead to the event to “chaos”. A forecast in which the opposition groups, Más Madrid and PSOE agree: “If there is no coordination, everything can turn into chaos.”

More Madrid demands from Almeida a greater commitment to Pride

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One of the main obstacles that, in practice, will prevent Pride from being held normally is, in the opinion of the Mixed Group, that the maximum noise levels allowed in the areas of the stages that will be set up in the city are not suspended, mainly in the squares of Pedro Zerolo and Spain. From the environment and mobility area of ​​​​the City Council, in the hands of the PP, they indicate to this medium that “such limits will be modified”, but rule out a total suspension, as happened “with the government of Now Madrid during the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, leaving neighbors unprotected against noise.”

“It is essential that they make the noise exemption, because in the scenarios the decibels will always be exceeded”, justifies Higueras, who warns of “huge fines” that the entities “could not afford”. In addition, he adds that the City Council has included in the contract with the entities for the celebration of Pride a point that indicates that if any of the clauses that it includes is violated, also those related to decibels, “they will have to return the full sponsorship”. It is half a million euros, to which the fine for excessive noise would be added, which can exceed 100,000 euros.

The noise “is the crux of the matter” also for other groups of the Consistory. From More Madrid they remember that in 2015 the parties ended “with millionaire fines” for exceeding the permitted noise. For this reason, the former mayor Manuela Carmena pardoned the groups those days to comply with the regulations. In this way, it was determined that, exceptionally, “modifications may be authorized or, where appropriate, the suspension of the maximum noise emission levels established in article 15 of the Ordinance on Protection against Acoustic and Thermal Pollution in the events framed in the official program of the aforementioned festivities”. That decision was approved by the Governing Board. “The LGTBI groups cannot assume the million-dollar fines, that is why the Fiesta is in danger if the regulations are not lifted on those days,” they agree in Más Madrid.

The sponsorship in question has been this year of 500,000 euros, which the Mixed Group managed to introduce in the budgets in exchange for lending its support to PP and Citizens to approve the accounts after Vox’s ‘no’. “They had no other choice and now what they are trying to do is put obstacles so that it is not celebrated or it is celebrated with difficulties,” denounces Higueras, who has also claimed to know the special devices planned for Pride. The deputy mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villacís, assured this same Friday in the deputy mayor’s commission that “the action of the cleaning services is planned”, the places where there will be actions and an extraordinary security device.

Villacís says that security is planned and the PP denies it

“They have no plan. If they had it, they would show it”, considers Higueras. Regarding the security device, Villacís specified this Friday: “I did not know that those were going to be his questions, if I had not brought him the figures. Then I share them with you, but that part is planned.” From the security area in the City Council, which is the responsibility of the Popular Party, they deny the deputy mayor by assuring that this plan is still being finalized and that, for the moment, they are focused on preparing for the NATO summit, which is being held in Madrid the week before.

“They want it to go wrong, because that way they will have an excuse to say that next year there will not be one or that the demonstration has to go to Casa de Campo, as Vox wanted,” laments Higueras, who will take the City Council plenary next week. an initiative to launch a multisectoral plan for Pride or to show the one that already exists. “We have to verify that it is there, we need to be certain that it is there,” she says. Villacís, for his part, accused the commission that “many people were waiting to confirm their prejudices, but Pride is going to be celebrated as it is celebrated every year”, an idea that sources from the Madrid PP also insisted on.

The other opposition groups, Más Madrid and PSOE, share many of the complaints made by the spokesperson for the Mixed Group. Rita Maestre’s group recalls that in Manuel Carmena’s previous mandate, the organization of the Festival was carried out well in advance and great coordination between the organizing groups and the City Council. All the areas involved in the event planned their actions so that everything worked correctly or at least as well as possible during those days.

Moreover, the Pride was declared in a municipal plenary session held at the end of June 2016 as an Asset of General Interest. The proposal was presented jointly by the groups of Now Madrid and PSOE. “Madrid Pride is a celebration of diversity, respect and inclusivity, which has been a loudspeaker for the achievement of legislative advances and also incalculable benefits from the economic point of view. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million attendees attend each year, and that it generates some 150 million euros of income for the city of Madrid”, read the initiative.

“Furthermore –he continued saying–, in terms of image, it represents an authentic Madrid Brand, as an open, modern, democratic city that is respectful of diversity. This international image of the city of Madrid has permeated to such an extent that it has been chosen to organize the World Pride in 2017, a massive and grandiose event that will bring, with the support of this Madrid City Council, more benefits of all kinds to our city ”.

In this new edition, a meeting has also been held between the City Council and the groups that organize both the Festival and the massive demonstration that runs through the streets of Madrid. According to the opposition groups, said meeting took place three months ago and the meeting was attended by the spokespersons of Más Madrid, Rita Maestre, and the councilor of her group; in addition to the spokesperson for the PSOE, Mar Espinar. Despite the fact that they had promised to attend, neither Villacís nor the delegate of the Culture area, Andrea Levy, attended. In his place they sent several technicians.

Discomfort over “neglect”

There they felt the discomfort that there was already because of how the Pride organization was facing. According to sources from these opposition groups, the groups were very unhappy with the City Council “because of the carelessness it was showing.” “The fact is that there are many municipal areas involved in the Festival: mobility, security, cleaning, transportation…and if there is no coordination, everything can turn into chaos,” they warn.

From the PSOE, its spokesman, Mar Espinar, recalls that at that meeting the organizers already put all these difficulties on the table. But according to her, she regrets, “there is a reality here and that is that there is a government team that does not intend to get involved in the real celebration of Pride 2022 and is trying to reduce visibility of what these days mean for Madrid and for the LGTBI collective” .

“We have a City Council that still does not respond to the proposal we made to allow the LGBT flag to be placed on the headquarters and to the goddess Cibeles, a City Council that looks less and less like the city it represents and the people of Madrid,” adds Espinar. “The Pride party must be above politics,” says the PSOE spokeswoman.


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