Hundreds of protesters gathered in Madrid's Plaza de Colón on Sunday, August 16, to protest the mandatory use of face masks and other measures imposed by the government in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Face masks initially became compulsory to be worn on public transportation, and the measure was expanded to public places nationwide late May.
Associated demonstrations are likely in Madrid in the near term, despite the ban on large gatherings. Localized disruptions and police intervention are possible.
Sunday's demonstration comes after Spanish authorities imposed additional restrictions across the country on August 14, and after new restrictions were imposed in Madrid from July 30, following an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Authorities previously announced that clubs, bars, and terraces were permitted to operate in Madrid until 01:30 (local time) and all customers will be required to register for contact-tracing purposes in the event of an outbreak. On August 14, Spanish authorities ordered nightclubs to close and imposed a ban on smoking in outdoor public areas across the country. The government also advised against gatherings of more than ten people, and specifically urged young people to avoid meeting outdoors to drink alcohol.
As of August 16, there have been 342,813 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Spain and 28,617 associated fatalities.
Those in Madrid are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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