Madrid City Hall has announced it will reduce even further the number of people allowed in the city’s iconic Puerta del Sol to see in the New Year over security concerns. The 25,000 permitted last year after 8pm is down to only 20,000 people this December 31.
The celebrations in Puerta del Sol are the largest in Spain, with tens of thousands of people gathering at midnight to take part in the tradition of eating 12 grapes to coincide with the 12 chimes of the clock on the Real Casa de Correos building.
A total of 35 traffic cameras will monitor the celebrations
City Hall will also use traffic cameras, restrict the circulation of vans and trucks, and set up planters to protect Madrid from terrorism during the upcoming holiday events including the New Year’s Eve celebrations – the preuvas, an identical grape-eating celebration that takes place on December 30 – the San Silvestre marathon on December 31 and the Three Kings procession on January 5.
According to City Hall this year capacity in Puerta del Sol will be reduced to two people per square meter – for a maximum of 20,00 people. In 2016, capacity was 25,000 and in 2015, people were allowed in the famous square until it was filled. Sol metro station will be closed at 9pm to 12.30am.
Another addition to this year’s security measures is the use of 35 traffic cameras in the San Silvestre marathon and Three Kings parade. The cameras will capture photos to put together the sequence of events in the case that something happens. For the first time also, all trucks and vans will be banned from perimeter of the procession between 5pm and 10pm in an effort to prevent a repetition of the terrorist attack in Barcelona in August in which a van drove into pedestrians in the busy La Rambla promenade, killing 14.
To provide further security, the National Police helicopter will capture images in real time and send them to the Madrid police force Control Center.
English version by Melissa Kitson.