Spain's national government has decided to ban all demonstrations and mass gatherings in Madrid scheduled for Sunday 7 and Monday 8 March to mark International Women's Day.
"Public health" reasons have been cited to prohibit any demonstration in the region, which currently has the highest cumulative incidence rate for Covid-19 in the country with 261 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which still places it in an area of 'extreme risk'.
The ban applies to any mass event in the region, whatever the reason. However, the only major demonstrations and rallies reported for those days were exclusively to celebrate International Women's Day.
The order affects almost 70 requests for demonstrations that had been planned to celebrate 8 March in the region.
The government said the decision had been taken "after studying in detail each of the requests presented including the routes, forecast attendance, duration and location among other details."
Initially, the government delegate in Madrid, José Manuel Franco, had been willing to authorise demonstrations of fewer than 500 people but on Thursday 4 March, he said, “A decision has been taken to prohibit, for public health reasons, all the demonstrations and gatherings organised, at a time when the region of Madrid continues to be one of the territories in Spain with the highest rate of infections as well as numbers of people hospitalised, well above the national average."
The definitive ban on the feminist demonstrations in Madrid comes after two weeks of controversy, after it was claimed the coronavirus was spread at the 8-M events in 2020 which had no preventative restrictions.