ERC and the CUP demand explanations from Ballesteros about the opening of the Games

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

Photo (Credit: Sergi Alcàzar)

The Tarragona municipal council groups of Catalan Republican Left party (ERC) and the Popular Unity Candidacy party (CUP) have asked for explanations from the mayor of Tarragona, Josep Fèlix Ballesteros (PSC), about the opening of the Mediterranean Games on Friday, according to the two parties. Republicans have already requested a meeting with the mayor to find out the number of tickets sold, the channels where the sales were made, how many tickets were given and with what criteria and how many requests for tickets were denied.

“We demand a public explanation which can be contrasted with the low number of spectators at the opening,” said ERC spokesman in Tarragona, Pau Ricomà. ERC also wants to determine if certain information is true about tickets being given to right-wing organizations VOX and SCC (Catalan Civil Society).

In this sense, the CUP also calls for explanations regarding “the alleged connivance between the organization of the Games and the extreme Spanish right” because “they may have been able to provide tickets to show a completely pro-monarchy stand.”

The mayor of Tarragona, Josep Fèlix Ballesteros, on the other hand, denied that spectators were selected for the opening of the Mediterranean Games and justified that the empty stands were reserved for athletes. Ballesteros – in a visit to the Mediterranean Ring alongisde the president of the Catalan Parliament, Roger Torrent – , assured everyone that the sale of tickets was not orchestrated. “Many crazy things are being said”, the mayor of Tarragona concluded, and said that it is “impossible” for the sale of tickets to have been orchestrated, because they could only be collected in packs of six.

The mayor justified the fact that the New Stadium was not full as tickets were reserved for the Olympic family – 3,000 places for athletes, although almost all went after the parade-, 1,800 for delegations and 800 for volunteers. The New Stadium has a capacity of 14,000 and the objective was to sell half of the seats. An objective that was achieved because 6,793 were sold, according to Ballesteros.

The mayor also criticized the whistles heard last Friday when he mentioned Catalan President Quim Torra, and rejected them without “any kind of palliative”, although he accepted that they are a form of “freedom of expression”.

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