Police in Benidorm had run-ins with boozy British holidaymakers as they tried to disperse large groups of people who spent much of the day drinking take-away alcohol on the street.
The boozy tourists guzzled down beer by the beach they had bought in supermarkets and corner shops after the closure of bars in the resort for at least the next fortnight to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Reinforcements arrived as two local police officers struggled to get them to move on. Officers armed with batons even had to break up one group around 3pm.
One could be seen using force to push several people away as a colleague dealt with others who appeared to be resisting attempts to move them on and police sirens sounded in the background.
A couple of hours later police had to deal with another large group of Brits who were drinking out of one-litre lager bottles and cans near the same spot outside the Trebol Apartments in Benidorm’s Levante Beach area.
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One Brit could be overheard telling a police officer: “We’re not causing any trouble, we’re just walking away.”
One smiling tourist risked the wrath of expats and locals by holding up a pack of Corona lager as his shirtless pals downed drinks beside him.
Town Hall chiefs have also sent a van round the Costa Blanca resort to tell Brit holidaymakers by megaphone to stay indoors.
The partying holidaymakers were given the message they must stay indoors by megaphone on Saturday night ahead of a long-awaited government announcement on a nationwide ‘state of alarm’ which will kick in on Monday and restrict peoples’ movements.
An English speaker warned from the mobile megaphone: “Attention please. An emergency state has been activated due to the coronavirus.
“You must stay safely at your accommodation or home and follow instructions from local authorities or from your accommodation provider.
“Avoid beach areas and promenades. Keep a safe distance form other people. Stay at home. Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience. Benidorm Town Hall.”
A national ban came into force on Saturday allowing people to leave their homes or hotels only under certain ‘emergency’ conditions.
The conditions include going to buy food and pharmaceutical products, getting to their workplace and returning home, going to hospitals and filling their cars up with petrol.
Police in Benidorm have yet to make any official announcement on how they will deal with British tourists who insist on continuing to make supermarket booze runs and filling up trolleys with just alcohol.
But they are expected to try and put a stop to the practice on the basis the products are not essential items under the terms of the State of Alarm Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez said he would bring into force.
Karen Maling Cowles, president of the Benidorm British Business Association, said she was “saddened” and “sickened” by the scenes.
The expat, who had decided to self-isolate ahead of the government home confinement order and posted photos of exhausted frontline Spanish nurses on social media on Saturday, said: “We are in a crisis and people need to take this seriously.
“Sadly it’s those who aren’t taking this seriously who will prolong this problem.
“While everybody’s out they could be infecting each other.
“It’s the minority of people who are in holiday mode who are forgetting what’s around on around them and it’s really sad.
“I just can’t understand why they are acting the way they are.
“They have to realise this can’t be a holiday for them because this is a health emergency.”
The scenes of Brit holidaymakers packing the seafront in Benidorm, despite red flags banning bathing, led to calls from angry expats and locals for them to be sent back home on the first planes available.
One said: “I hope that all the British who are currently partying in Benidorm don’t get any type of health assistance when they fall ill in our country.”
Another added: “I hope the first measure implemented as part of the State of Alarm is the immediate expulsion of these Brits.”
Miriam Gonzalez tweeted: “Tell the Brits in Benidorm the Spanish are staying indoors.
“They are being irresponsible by carrying on as if nothing was happening, they give British people a bad name.”
Benidorm-based doctor Maria Diaz Gomez posted footage of tourists downing lager in packed bars in the resort’s Little England area ahead of last night’s midnight lockdown banning them from opening for two weeks.
She said: “We are on call in Benidorm. Live. Thousand of foreigners ignoring measures to contain the pandemic. How slowly the clock advances towards midnight.”
She added: “In a society of ‘Me’ and ‘Now’, it’s all we can expect.”
The party scenes in Benidorm contrasted sharply with the situation in Magaluf, where bars and restaurants were shut or deserted yesterday/on Saturday.
A sign on one business in the Majorcan party resort said in Spanish and pigeon English: “We Closed. By order of Balearic government to prevent Covid-19.”