A move to ban nudity in public places is set to transform the coastal capital of Barcelona from exhibitionist to prohibitionist
Officials plan to fine naked and scantily clothed people, to break with the common summertime image of tourists hanging out in swimwear, miles away from the sea.
Nudity can incur between a 300 and 500-euro fine in the traditionally liberal city, with the higher sum reserved for repeat offenders.
The "near-nude" can be fined up to 300 euros if found outside authorized zones, which the cross-party pact defines as the beach, swimming pools or adjacent streets.
Naturists say they feel persecuted by the prohibition. "This is nudaphobia. Elections are coming up so we got it in the neck," said Jacint Ribas, chairman of the Association for the Defense of Nakedness.
Until now, City Hall was permissive with nudity in the interests of "personal freedom" but has now shifted its posture, defending instead the liberty of "people not to suffer due to others' lack of respect".
Barcelona official Assumpta Escarp was keen to highlight the last sentence of the text, written by Catalan Socialists PSC and conservative nationalist bloc CiU, which says local police will warn offenders to get dressed before fining them. The motion is expected to be passed in March.